He Grew This SEO WordPress Plugin to 3,000,000+ Users

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What better way to respond to a time of uncertainty and transition than to share a true success story of change.

Joining the podcast is a truly hopeful example of growth and evolution.

Ben started off as an IT and web development guy and now runs of the SEO plugin All-In-One-SEO (AIOSEO) since it was acquired in 2020.

Over these years, both he and the plugin have experienced massive change and transformation to be in the positions they are today. And we’re gonna learn some of the key takeaways of how this was possible.

Watch The Interview

Ben Rojas shares all about his journey from a background in IT, web development, and WordPress to his current role in SEO.

Ben got into SEO after his company, Awesome Motive, acquired All-In-One SEO. He then went on to lead the rebuilding of the plugin from scratch.

And in the interview, he dives into the team’s growth strategy, including:

  • Adding features such as image SEO,
  • Redirection,
  • Local SEO,
  • And a strong emphasis on consistency, customer support, and content creation.

A key aspect of their approach is maintaining a robust free version of the plugin while continuously enhancing the value of the pro version.

The decision-making process involves carefully selecting which features are included in each version to cater to different user needs. Notably, the search statistics feature is highlighted as a significant technical addition that has significantly contributed to the growth of All-In-One SEO.

Alongside these cool features, they’ve also added innovative features like content decay optimization for articles dropping in ranking and a user-friendly dashboard that provides actionable insights to improve SEO.

The redirection manager and full-site redirects have been popular among users, highlighting the team’s commitment to enhancing user experience.

They also get into various marketing strategies, including content marketing, email marketing, and social media promotion.

It’s a very interesting talk!

Topics Ben Rojas Covers

  • Transition from IT and web development to SEO
  • Rebuilding the All-In-One SEO plugin
  • Growth strategy and feature additions
  • Maintaining free vs. pro versions
  • Decision-making process for feature inclusion
  • Technical additions driving growth
  • Content optimization strategies
  • User-friendly dashboard for SEO improvement
  • Marketing strategies: content, email, social media
  • Analyzing case studies for growth insights
  • Importance of customer feedback in product development

Transcription

Jared: All right. Welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bauman. And today we are joined by Ben Rojas. Ben, welcome. 

Ben: Thank you very much. Excited to be here, Jared. 

Jared: Yeah, I’m excited to have you. I know that, um, uh, every once in a while, you know, schedules get in the way. We had to reschedule this one.

So this has been a little while coming. I’m excited to have you on and much anticipated from, uh, from going back and forth and creating a agenda for today. So welcome on board. Thanks for being here. 

Ben: Absolutely. I’ve been a listener and I’m excited to, to kind of jump on and share, share what, whatever it is you, you want me to share.

So 

Jared: well, start by giving people some background. You know, we always like to kind of hear the backstory, maybe basically kind of what’s arrived to here today, whatever you think is relevant. I mean, maybe give us a couple of minutes and then we’ll, we’ll dive into, I think we’re going to touch on a bunch of different topics today, but, but certainly your experience levels are going to, are going to yield a lot of good, a lot of good things for people today.

Ben: Absolutely. Yeah. So, um, I’ve kind of been a kind of computer nerd all my life. Like I, I wrote my first website at 13 years old, like by hand on a piece of notepaper, uh, got books from the library, all that kind of stuff. So, so I’ve been very heavily involved in, in it and web development since a very early age.

Um, I went into it directly out of high school and kind of, you know, Worked as like desktop support and things like that for a long time. And that was kind of my, my niche, so to speak. Um, and then, uh, got involved with a nonprofit and they needed a website. So I started like figuring out how does, how does word, that’s when I kind of stumbled on WordPress and, uh, figured out how, how to build a site with WordPress.

Um, and then. I got married and needed to make more income and decided to move out. So I actually got a support job at a WordPress e commerce company called Cart66. It’s one of the old ones that was around back in the day. I’m not sure if you’re, if you’ve heard of it, but I have, which dates me. Yes. So it’s been around for a long time and I, Um, so I knew development, like I said, I had been a part of building websites and things for years, but, but WordPress development was kind of new to me, so I, in that job, I kind of learned a lot about what it means to develop inside of the WordPress ecosystem.

Um, and so I was mainly support there, but started doing development. And then I began, uh, through that, met some people in the, in the WordPress space, um, and I began building payment gateways for EDD. Easy digital downloads. Um, Pippin was just going to launch it and I met him. And, um, so we started, uh, kind of a collaboration.

I built like a half dozen, uh, payment gateways for him. Um, and, but mostly focused on the PayPal ones. Cause there was like PayPal, adaptive payments, PayPal express, PayPal pro, like all of the different ones that you could do. Um, and then After that point, I kind of got out of the WordPress space for a little while.

Again, it was an income thing, needed a growing family, needed to find a better paying job. So went to work for, uh, kind of a customer success company outside of that. They still use WordPress a little bit, but it was mainly not. And so, but there I kind of really. Built my depth as far as like, uh, development and product development.

And, and, uh, that, that was related to, uh, you know, learning my SQL and more PHP and all of this stuff, like really outside of the WordPress space, I feel like that really set me apart in a sense. Cause you, you know, I’m sure you’ve heard there are WordPress developers and there are PHP developers. You feel like there’s different, different versions of that.

And so I feel like that really leveled me out a lot. Um, and then around that time, uh, I kind of reconnected with people in the WordPress space. And, um, About eight years ago, started working for awesome motive. So, um, and I came on and started working for environment gallery, uh, at the beginning and then moved to opt in monster relatively quickly in that process.

And I was there for. For a few years, about three, three and a half years or so. And then, um, at that point, that was when the acquisition for all in one SEO happened and I transitioned to, to leading that team, um, and growing it. So that’s kind of my, that’s kind of my tech background, but, um, it’s been an exciting and fun journey.

Like I’m really, I really love the WordPress space and being a part of the community. So 

Jared: you have a WordPress background, clearly, like you kind of outlined all the different ways you’ve played a part in WordPress almost serendipitously over the years, but not a big SEO background. And forgive me if I’m.

Maybe overreaching there, but from what you’re saying, it doesn’t sound like you have a big SEO background. You ended up in all in one SEO, which a lot of people who are listening will be familiar with, will have heard of. I mean, talk about your role there, what you did there. And then I just, I’m curious to hear some of the things from a high level you observed getting into the SEO space when you come from more of a WordPress development space.

Ben: Absolutely. Yeah. That’s a, that’s a keen observation. And, um, you know, being in web development, there’s an, uh, fundamentals of SEO that you kind of understand and know. And so there was a little bit of that for me as well, throughout the years. Um, in fact, there were some times briefly throughout that I did some freelancing and help people with websites and, and did some SEO for them and, and things like that.

But, but kind of when the all in SEO acquisition happened and I, I’m transitioned to that, it was kind of like, you know, Drinking from the fire hose, like learning SEO, like to, to go to the next level, to level up, to really move into, uh, uh, to becoming an expert in, in this field. And, um, so that obviously that, that took some time.

I mean, it’s been four years or so now since, uh, since that happened. And I feel like I’ve come night. I mean, when I look back on that, I thought I had a good understanding of SEO and then I kind of jumped into this with, with both feet and was like, wow. Yeah. Right. I’m learning so much about this process and, um, and it’s, it’s been a fun journey and I, like one of the things that excites me the most is how our customers, we’ve seen our customers who are, are, their lives are changed in a way, like, you know, they start using your product and they start ranking more and, and the excitement of that, seeing those tangible results, um, you know, in development, I mean, a lot of times you just.

Pushing out code, checking boxes and you move on. And so when you’re, when you’re doing things, it’s kind of a mystery. There’s a mystery behind it. There’s a, there’s a mad, like a magic, so to speak, where you’re figuring things out. Um, That, that is exciting for me and to be able to see that so, so I love like my journey definitely was very heavily product focused and not a lot in that SEO space.

But since that four year mark, you know, when, when the acquisition happened and I began to like, this is my day job. Now, this is what I’m doing. I’m learning SEO and I’m understanding it and trying to get to that higher level. Um, I’ve just, I’ve just loved every minute of it. It’s been, it’s been a great journey.

Jared: It, it, I’m tempted to ask you all sorts of SEO related questions from the plugin. Um, maybe we’ll come back to that because I know that you, you and I were talking about some cool case studies you have and we can get to that later. I do want to hear though, And I’m taking it more from us, maybe like call it a SAS product or from basically the growth of that all in one SEO business.

I mean, what were your roles in that and just talk through the growth strategy and how you guys have come along at least in the last four years that you’ve been involved? 

Ben: Sure. Um, it might make sense to give kind of a brief. History of the plugin, if you, if you don’t mind, because that kind of sets the stage for like what we’ve done with it.

But it’s, you know, all in SEO has been around since 2007. It’s I, if not the original, it’s one of the very earliest SEO plugins for WordPress. Um, I, as far as I can tell, it is the original one and it was basically just metatitles and descriptions, right? Very basic technical SEO stuff. Um, And, uh, Michael Torbert is the one who kind of grew the product and that’s who we, we acquired it from.

Um, he launched a pro version in like 2009. Um, and he grew it to that, he actually grew it to, to 3 million users, but then it kind of, uh, with the advent of other plugins in the space, it definitely, uh, took a backseat and it kind of went back down to under the, the 2 million mark. Um, but when. When we acquired it, I mean, we acquired it in 2020.

There were so many years of layers of technical debt, if you will, in the product. And so, so, uh, when I began to look at the code and began, it was very early on in that process where I figured in order for us to scale this and to grow this product, we have to start over essentially. And so, um, So that the, you know, one of the very first things we did is decide to rewrite the plugin from the ground up.

Like every single line of code is new. Um, and that took time that took time. So, so in that, in the middle of that process, we, uh, we relaunched our website. It was. It was originally being hosted on a website called Semper plugins. com. That was Michael’s brand and it had multiple products for sales. So there was a map plugin and, uh, um, a mail plugin of some sort, but they were very minor.

They weren’t, you know, didn’t have a lot of sales or anything like that. All I’m going to say, it was obviously the big ticket. So we rebranded to AIOSCO. com and we, we spent a lot of time, you know, building out that website and transitioning, but while still selling the same product, it was the same, you know, 3.

We, we released a 3. 4 with some added features and things like that, but it was very much the same line of product. Um, but then through that, uh, me and my, the only other dev we had at the time, cause we, you know, at that time it was very small, we had three people total, one on support, two on dev. And so, um, we, we then.

Created an architecture that could scale. And we rebuilt that, that product from the ground up. And it was mainly feature parody, right? Like what’s in there now, we’re going to transition over into this new 4. 0 product that we were going to launch. Um, and so, so that took, that took 11 months. Um, it was, I believe, December.

We launched the new website, November 14 of 2020. And then we launched the new plugin version 4. 0 in December of that year. Um, and you know, It wasn’t the prettiest thing. We learned a lesson that that launching around the holidays is probably not the best idea. And so we’ve learned that for something that major of an update.

Um, but, uh, but we quickly iterated and and and worked through as much as we could with our customers to try and fix any issues that had come up is, you know, with with the new technology. Two at the point, at that point, 2 million installs, it’s really hard to, to test every environment and to make sure that, that all of the changes you made are going to basically upgrade perfectly.

And so we, we definitely had issues that we had to resolve, but we did that as quickly as we could. And I think within just a couple of weeks, we had a very, very stable product, um, and one that we were, we were proud of at that point. And you know, it was a stressful time, but so that’s kind of like the, the fundamental like thing that we did when we acquired is we said, you know, Before we can really grow, we have to, we have to rebuild this in order to be able to scale.

And that’s, that’s the primary thing is rebuilding the product in a way that we can then bolt on new features and add new things to it. Um, even to the point of adding sass, sassified things to it. Right. So, so At its base, it’s a WordPress plugin, and we wanted to make sure that that was the core thing. We have a very strong free offering.

All of that’s still there. We didn’t take anything away from the, the free users or anything like that. Um, and we wanted to make sure that all of that worked exactly as it did. Um, because we had a pretty loyal user base. It wasn’t, it was declining, but it was still pretty loyal in that sense. And we wanted to keep that.

Jared: So you mentioned that it had dipped quite a bit in terms of number of paid, um, I don’t know if you call them subscribers or just paid members. And that you needed to rebuild the platform. Was that a decision because you had like a plan in place or ideas about how to grow the brand and you needed to have that new, uh, basically rebuilt ground up?

Like, was it going to be a feature based promotional, uh, effort going forward? Or, you know, what were the growth plans once you got that new platform built? 

Ben: Yeah. So, um, being a product guy, obviously that’s where a lot of my focus was, was a lot of the feature based stuff. Um, but, uh, and, and just to clarify, the decline was actually in the free users.

We had a lot of free user decline, uh, through that, through those years. And so, um, basically it had hit 3 million free users and went back down to 2 million. You know, Before we acquired it. Um, so, so knowing that we had a user base and, and knowing the market that’s out there, we wanted to, we obviously wanted to grow it.

So, so we, you know, we created a very strong roadmap. We, we knew that a lot of the other plugins out there had features that we didn’t have. They just had Had grown past us in that sense. Um, and so we, um, in a lot of ways, we just looked at what are people asking for? And we, we put in questions for our customers and forms that they could fill out and give us feedback.

What, what are things you’re looking for? Um, and at the end of the day, that that’s a big driving force, but we’re also practitioners. We also needed SEO plugins. We also need, you know, things, you know, Inside of awesome motive in our, in our company. And so we could take like, these are the things that are missing that we need as well.

And we could build those in. So a couple of the things that we did right out of the box was we added, um, an image SEO add on, which allowed you to kind of optimize your images. We added a redirection manager, which we did not have at all. Uh, we had very basic local SEO stuff. So we expanded on that. We added a, a big area of, of local SEO that, um.

you know, could hit, allow people to be able to do multiple locations and different things like that and work with if they had e commerce or things like that. So, um, so those were like the, the immediate things that we built. Um, even some of those came in 4. 0. Like, you know, feature parody was the big thing, but we decided like we want to put some of these in there to really ramp up our offering.

Um, And so, uh, so primarily feature based. Yes. And for the first couple of years, that’s where we focused. We really focused on, um, just building a solid product that if somebody were to use and say, I love this, I don’t want to move away from this. And we listen to our users. If they said, Hey, there’s an issue here.

I want to do this. We tried to iterate as quickly as we could to just build that loyalty and that, that, um, uh, yeah. Uh, communication with them in a way that they could know, like, Hey, I’m being heard, right? Because that’s hard. Like, you have millions and millions of people who use a product and you don’t have millions and millions of people to support them, you know, so, so you try, we try our best to have outstanding customer support and be able to just to iterate as quickly as possible.

So, so, yes, at the very beginning, Almost a hundred percent was very much feature based and trying to grow through just building out features for the product that would just kind of bring us back to the level, um, that it should have been from the beginning. Um, and so that’s kind of where we started after that, uh, we began to build our, on our, on our growth team is what we call it.

So, so we began to, we, we hired a writer. So at that. Prior to that, there was a blog that we kind of just migrated over and left. There was some good stuff on the blog, but it wasn’t something that we actually were actively writing on. And every once in a while, we borrow a writer from Awesome Motive and we write an article and put it out there, but it wasn’t, um, Uh, a primary focus for a while, and that was just because we we needed to build the product and build the team, uh, as we, you know, as we could.

So, um, but then we got our own writer. We hired our first writer and that person began to write, you know, and put out content on the blog. And of course, that started to help. Um, one thing. That I will say through this whole journey, like, while we have specific things that we did, consistency is really the name of the game, right?

Like, slowly but surely we have built it up to where it is today. It’s not something that happened overnight. It’s not something that was You know move it moved over we launched a new product and immediately we had huge growth like nut There’s never any of that in there. It was all just consistent being consistent, you know, we started pumping out articles We’ve grown that team now.

We’re pumping out more articles than we used to but that growth has been You know, slow and steady, right? It’s not something that’s been a skyrocket growth for us, but it’s been a, it’s been a good growth. Um, so, so that became our next kind of Avenue, but we continue to build features at the same time. We begin to continue to add things.

We started to add some SAS offerings in the, in the, in the process. Um, Uh, our search statistics feature broken link checker, things like that, that we’re work that we’re adding as well to that are satisfied. Um, but, um, but at the end of the day, like, and that’s that’s a tenant of what we’re doing. We’re continuing to build features.

But at the end of the day, we also. Switch gears and began to build out the content side. Um, at that same time, 

Jared: you you’ve touched on a couple of times. So I just want to ask this question. I think a lot of people listening might get a lot of value out of it because you have a free version of the plugin and you have a paid version.

Obviously the paid version is what drives the revenue for the company, but the free version has a lot of features to it that people will find valuable. Like how do you determine? How did you guys determine what goes into the free version or freemium version versus what goes in the pro version? And then as you’re adding all these new features, you know, I’m literally, I wrote a bunch down the image SEO, redirection, local SEO, et cetera.

Like as you’re adding these new features, how do you determine you just load it all into pro and then use that as continual kind of upsell factors that are natural upsell factors. How do you determine where new products end up? I’m just curious to get your take on that. 

Ben: Yeah, absolutely. So, um, kind of a blessing and a curse you could say is when we, when we got the product, it was a very well rounded free product, like there’s a lot you can do with all in SEO free, um, very early on.

It was easy decision. We’re not going to take any of those things away, right? So, so the product that the free product on its own is very solid. Um, we definitely have added to the free version. Um, but that, you know, again, that doesn’t drive the revenue like you mentioned, right? The pro side does. So a lot of the things that we build, um, I always kind of ask myself the question, you know, if we’re, if we’re expanding in an area, like, let’s take local SEO, for example, um, You know, who, who, who is the target audience for local SEO, right?

It’s not everybody. It’s, it’s people who have like, you know, uh, brick and mortar businesses and they want, you know, to be able to be located on Google and stuff. So, so part of that. Um, that strategy for them and looking at this product is like, okay, this, this could be something that we could put into our pro version to be able to expand on that, that niche that those people that have that, um, but at the same time, look, if somebody is just starting out and they’re just trying to get their feet wet, maybe we can add some things.

So, like, we have, uh, Organization and, uh, organizational knowledge graph data that goes into the schema. And that’s all free. We put a lot of that stuff for free inside the free plugin. So if you go in there and add it in, Google is going to know you have a business and they’re going to know about that.

Now, there might be some things related to your locations or your opening hours or things like that are very specific. That you would have to get the pro version for, but we still said, is there anything here that we could add into our free version, add value to that, continue to grow that and get people excited about it?

Um, and then they can come in and they can say, yeah, this is for me. So, so obviously there are things that are, that I would say are, you know, A lot of the fundamental technical SEO, that’s where we’re stuffing it into the free version and we’re giving people that, that value there. Um, but things that kind of take it to the next level and help you level up as your business is growing, as you’re starting to make money, that’s where we’re going to start putting things into our pro version and being able to say, this is something that can go up there.

And obviously SAS, SASified products as, as we build those, you can’t really give away SAS products for free. There’s resources that, that, um, that we have to pay for and cover. You know, one of the things that we’ve tried to do from day one is when we build our SAS products, we build them in a way that can, that can scale, but not.

Increase the prices of our plans. It’s one of the foundations that we look at as we say, you know, we want to continue to add values to these plans without increasing the prices. Can we do that with this new SaaS offering? Can we do that with this new feature that we’re adding? And that’s, that’s a very much a core part of how we’re doing it because we, we want people to succeed.

I mean, that at the end of the day, that’s kind of our mission is for small businesses to succeed and grow and be able to compete with the big guys that are out there. Um, And the guys that have endless money, right? Like we know that our targeted audience doesn’t have endless money. So we want to be able to build tools that will help them without forcing them to continue to shell out tons and tons of money every year.

Jared: What’s been the, the biggest, um, ad that you guys have made from a technical perspective? Like the one that’s been the most popular, the most well received, uh, led to the biggest, you know, growth. Um, I’m just curious, like, You guys have a lot of like, when you break the plugin down to the individual features, you start to realize how many features there are at this point.

Um, and so I’m just curious, like which one, if there is one or two that have driven the most success, if you could. 

Ben: Yeah, I would. That’s a great question. Something I haven’t dug massively into, but I would say that the. Probably the most recent one is our search statistics feature. And this feature specifically, I think because, you know, with SEO, a lot of it’s a matter of perspective, right?

You can get into Google search console and you can look at that and you can say like, okay, if you’re a mid level or higher level, you, you can move your way around that and really kind of. Help yourself demystify it. But we figured that there are ways to unlock that even more. And so with our search statistics add on, what it basically does is it integrates with Google search console.

You connect it right up through, through our, our plugin and it brings in the data, but it, you know, through some of our algorithms, it shows you like, Hey, this is the content. These are the articles that have started to drop in ranking. We have what we call a content decay feature. Bye. Go ahead and take a look at this.

Like you, you should, you know, these have started to drop in in ranking. So go ahead and optimize these articles. You click on the article and it will show you. Um, and so I think that was such a leap from where all in one SEO is, which was very fundamental, technical SEO, right? And we, we kind of unlocked a dashboard, so to speak, where, where users could like, take a look at this, uh, this feature and, and be able to say, Okay.

Wow, I can improve. Here are actionable things that I can use to improve on. Um, and, and so we’ve, I don’t know about the growth side, but we have seen so much excitement about this feature, a lot of feedback from people saying, this is exactly what I needed. This is what I want. And, and we’ve, we’ve made it as quick and as fast as possible.

So it’s one of those tools that doesn’t take, Hours and hours to crunch reports like it will analyze the data and get it back to you very, very quickly, um, even on large sites. So, um, I think that’s probably the one that I’ve seen the most excitement, the most feedback in it in turn gets me excited. It’s like, okay, we did something right here.

Let’s continue to build on that and make that go to the next level. Um, but, but other things like even our redirection manager, like, Okay. Some of that stuff is just, you know, you use like 20 plugins to do all of these SEO things and, and we, you know, we wanted to be able to, to kind of, you know, bring that all in house, all in one SEO.

That’s the name, you know, like to be able to do a lot of these things within just one plugin and simplify it that way. Um, and so that’s, I think that the Redirection Manager is also pretty well received and we get a lot of feedback. Of good feedback on that. That’s really helpful. And we have things like full site redirects, which allows you if you’re moving sites like that’s a, that’s a very, uh, small market.

That’s not gonna be a lot of people, but we’ve seen a lot of excitement about that. Like, Hey, I had to move my domain and that that helped me get there quickly. So those are probably the 2 things, uh, the search statistics is 1 of our SAS offerings, but the, uh, the redirection manager is all built into the plugin.

It’s, it’s, you know, just uses WordPress. PHP redirects and all of that. 

Jared: Okay, cool. Yeah. Um, maybe let’s talk a bit about content marketing. I mean, uh, we, I touched on it briefly, but you know, we didn’t kind of dive deep into it and you’ve been there for four years. Uh, what, what are the different, maybe from a high level or get as deep as you want, like different growth levers you guys have pulled and which ones have had more success than others?

I mean, when we talk about content marketing, I mean, obviously there’s Uh, on the site, you mentioned blog content by me. Even if you want to dive into maybe email marketing or any advertising you guys did, or, uh, I’m just curious to learn cause, uh, and if possible, maybe some growth stats, you know, I know you guys have grown, um, you kind of told us where, where it was when you, when you guys acquired it, but where, where are things at now as a result of this?

Ben: Yeah, absolutely. So, um, so, you know, my background because I just shared it with you and content marketing was not part of that, right? This is, this is one of those things that not just SEO, but even just kind of the full scope of running a business like, and this is one of those areas that I had to, to kind of also dig into and learn and like, okay, I, you know, pieces of it here and there throughout my career, but this is, this was before Became the point where it was like, I need to dive in and focus and really learn how this stuff works.

So, um, so we, as far as content marketing goes, we don’t do anything crazy. We don’t do anything that’s abnormal or, um, you know, I don’t even know. There’s a lot of, Things that people do where it’s just like, Oh, try this approach or try this approach. And I think for me, just kind of my personality, which has helped to lead and grow the brand is like, there’s no way that we’re going to be able to measure the success of something unless we do it for a while and be able to see, is this helping us grow?

So, so, you know, we started very small, probably publishing one blog post a week when we had one writer, maybe two. Um, and we, even when we hired another writer and suddenly you could like instantly double it. I said, you know what? Instead of doubling it, let’s just add one more slot, and then after a little while, we’ll add another slot, and then we can measure like how impactful this is, and we can begin to see, um, through the analytics and things like that, like looking at Google Analytics or Search Console, how are these things performing, and we’re tracking all of that information, um, because obviously that’s a key part to it, is being able to put out an article and then tracking how well is it doing, right, looking in search results and seeing is it, is it hitting the target keyword, is it ranking, uh, in the results, and so, um, Our product goes a long way to helping us to do that, right?

So all SEO is, that’s fundamentally, um, what we use. And so one of the key tenants that I have, um, kind of given to my content team is I want you to use our product because not only because I want it to help us grow, but I want it to help us to be able to fix things that are not working well so that we can help our customers grow.

And so we can turn that around and be able to take the lessons learned that way. Bye. But as far as content, you know, the content that we’re outputting, you know, we’re, we’re In a, in a lot of ways, sticking to our, our niche, we’re, we’re SEO experts and we’re looking to, to demystify SEO for our user base.

And so we’re really taking that opportunity to explain things to our users, to be able to, to not only talk about things that are, uh, our product can help you with on the technical side, but also just like big picture questions about SEO or, or like, uh, you know, breaking down, uh, fundamental things about SEO so that they can.

So that beginners who we assume that’s our target audience, a lot of people who are looking at articles can can learn and grow and then be able to apply those things back to their own websites. Um, so that’s kind of how, you know, we, we just take a, I would say it’s a relatively simple approach to that.

And just we’re not doing anything crazier out of the out of the ordinary. We’re just consistent. At the end of the day, we’re just consistent. Um, we’re, I think at this point, what is it, like, four or five articles a week right now. Um, and that’s what we’re publishing. Um, you know, but we do have an email, you know, uh, uh, marketing channel as well.

Um, you know, we, we, uh, it. Whenever we output new features in the product, we’ll take an opportunity to kind of, to, to push that. And that might be a little bit of a bigger push where we’ll, we’ll put out a blog post, we might, uh, send out an email to our whole list and be like, Hey, here’s some new features and everything.

Um, but then the idea is to kind of just. Continue to build content around these features. Like what, what are the core things that we’re doing? And, and, and that’s going to help us grow. Um, and then at the same time, we can share that with our customers and say, this is what’s going to help you grow, um, be experts in what you do.

Uh, and I think that’s the, that would be the message I would say is like, I’m learning that I have learned that myself over these last four years is that I need to be an expert in this in order to be able to, you know, grow. To succeed in this, in this arena, in this area. Um, and so, so we don’t, again, with email marketing, we don’t do anything crazy.

You know, we send out, uh, maybe a newsletter once a week, and then we’ll send out an additional email when we’re doing a promotion or we’re doing a feature announcement or something like that. Um, You know, I get, I’m subscribed to so many email lists that I get so many that I’m just like, I know that a lot of people who are in the same area as me are also getting a lot.

So I don’t want to overwhelm people with too many emails and things like that. But it is a. It’s, it’s another vertical and social media is another thing. We’ll post every blog post we publish, we’ll post a link to it on there. And we make, you know, we have a YouTube channel. We’ll make videos about, um, all, you know, a lot of times you’re just taking the blog post as a script and saying like, you know, make a video out of this.

And so we’ll make a video that really explains that idea, that concept that we’re trying to, to relay to our user base. Um, and then also documentation. You know, we, because we’re a very technical product, we have to have a lot of good documentation, so we’ll work on YouTube videos that have to do with that.

And that, I mean, at the end of the day, that also, those stuff will rank in algorithms too, and people will be able to find those. And, um, it may not be the most helpful because it’s kind of diving into a little section here and being like, this is what we’re talking about. Um, but hopefully, you know, we’re, we’re seeing good.

And that hopefully is helping users as well. So, um, so it’s a very good balance of, I think of trying to, to spread it out between all the different verticals that are available to us and being able to say, like, Let’s keep it simple. Let’s not do anything crazy or, or, uh, especially something that, that we can’t measure quickly, uh, you know, I just don’t, in our game, there’s just not a lot you can measure quickly.

It just stuff takes time to build. Um, and that’s what I found at least. And, and so a lot of, a lot of time, the way I look at it is slow and steady wins the race, right? Like we’re going to continue to, to do the things that are working. And if something’s not working. That’s where we can look, take a closer look at that and say, Okay, we’ve been trying this for for 34 months and it’s not working the way we thought it should.

Let’s revisit that and try something new. Um, so, you know, that that’s I hope that’s that’s helpful. That answers the question. I think that that that’s kind of the way that I look at it. And we’ve got a great team. That’s really, really good at that. Another tenant. I will just add to what I tell my growth team and my content team is.

You need to be SEO experts as well. You need to really dive into the fundamentals of SEO because you’re, you know, you’re writing about it. And so it needs to be something that really resonates with you that, that, that’s just right there. It’s second nature to you to write about these SEO things. And excuse me, we’ve hired people.

That had that background already, um, had a lot of good SEO, uh, experience. And that’s, that was intentional for that reason. So 

Jared: if I could dovetail a bit and kind of springboard off some of the things you talked about, I’m just really curious. And I think people who certainly people have a. You know, an interest in SAS products or in creating products will be interested in this, but I think it expands beyond that to really anybody that could be listening and running some sort of online business.

Like where does, where do you find conversion typically happens? And I’m just curious about what sorts of conversion metrics you guys are paying attention to when you have a freemium product. You know, I, I imagine like. That’s adds a whole nother layer of complexity because, um, you obviously are looking in some capacity at which, um, which marketing channels or efforts are creating the most for you, but also it’s gotta be segmented because some are going to maybe create a lot of free users, which are great because it gets them embedded in the product, but also trying to figure out which ones end up with kind of.

Premier pro members and subscribers. So I just, I would love to hear any thoughts you have on how you guys look at conversions. And out of all those efforts, if there’s kind of a funnel you have in place or just a certain thing that creates more of the customer conversion, um, uh, anything that, that you can add to that.

Ben: Yeah, I mean, I think that the, the main thing and it’s not really a, you know, specific place or a mathematical equation or anything like that. It’s really just showing the value of what we offer in our pro offerings. And like, these are the things that you can, uh, can help you, right? So, um, you know, we have a very solid free product that a lot of people are content with, right?

Like at the end of the day, If we didn’t have pro users, I, we couldn’t continue to make our free product, but it is one of those where we don’t want to take away those features, but we want to be able to, to share value. And so in a lot of the, the, the content that we write. A lot of the newsletters that we send a lot of the, um, you know, even in certain areas in the plugin, like, um, you know, for example, the local SEO, you, you have some fundamental local SEO stuff that’s in the free version, but then we’ll say, Hey, we do have more.

And there’s a spot there, right? Like an upsell of some kind where you can say, Hey, we have more and you click on it and we’ll show you, this is what else you can add with our pro version. So I think that, um, the main thing that I’ve found in this, uh, In this is that, um, we have to really, you have to really surface the value and that’s, that’s, you know, you can do all whatever tactics or anything you want, but again, keeping it simple.

If somebody buys my product because of a gimmick, they’re not going to stay. And that’s not a good conversion for me, right? Like that’s not somebody that’s going to be a long term user of my product. So what I want is to be able to surface the value and to be able to show them, these are the things. that we can help you with in our pro version.

And so when that conversion happens, you know, hopefully that person stays for the long haul and is there for a while. Um, so we, you know, obviously there, you know, we do all of the normal, if you will, when we’re looking at conversions and things like that, we do all the normal stuff where we have UTM parameters and track those things in Google Analytics.

And, and we can see, is this converting? Well, or is that is that converting? Well, that could be in your email, the link that’s in your email, that Convert to a sale or, uh, the blog post, right? Like, um, we have some links in there that, that say, Hey, if you want to get this, get it, get all in a CO pro and you click on that.

Did that convert? Well, so we, so we follow a lot of those, uh, a lot of those metrics. Um, the, the truth is like, uh, personally, I hadn’t looked at this, these numbers in the last couple of weeks. So I can’t tell you what’s winning out, but I do know that Um, things have been, have been growing and going well, like, like, at the end of the day, I think this because of, uh, let me pause there for one second and just say, oh, an SEO dot com is a very new brand, right?

Like, 4 years, 3 and a half years, really. Um, and so it’s not something that, yes, it had an older brand, like a whole, a different domain and everything, but when, you know, there’s obviously, we knew that changing domains, you’re going to lose traffic. You’re going to lose customers through that process. And so a lot of the things that I’ve been talking about with the blog content, with the newsletters, with the, you know, pushing out new features into the product.

Um, a lot of those things are just, they’re just compounding and they’re growing through compounding. And, and I want to, I want to say that at the end of the day, like the conversions that we’re getting are because We have hopefully done a good job of showing the value of what it is that we’re offering in our pro version.

And so that’s where we’re seeing those conversions happening is people saying, Hey, you know, I want to be able to see that data search statistics. I want to be able to see that data in this new way for my own website. Like, you know, here’s the examples that that all my SEO is showing. This is what it looks like.

Wow, I can be able to target these things a little bit better. I need to be able to get that pro version in order to do that. And so we’re seeing that, you know, the conversions there for that. So I hope that answers your question. 

Jared: Yeah. Yeah. Um, Hey, so we have a spot on, on our, on our talking points to talk through some case studies through some, uh, through some SEO case studies.

I, uh, I’d be remiss if we didn’t get to that. And so I want to make some time for that and turn it over to you. I mean, like talk to us about some case studies from, from, uh, from, from your vantage point. 

Ben: Yeah. So, so this is a fairly new initiative. We’ve been doing this about, I want to say like six months now, I believe somewhere in that area.

And this was an area where we, you know, we were trying to figure out, you know, we’re talking about growth verticals and what are things that we can do to continue to add value, again, add value to our customers. And being that you know, the position that we’re in, we can look at a website that is ranking.

You know, there are so many tools out there. You can send rush and all these things where you can like, put in a domain and see what it’s doing in Google and all of that. And so, um, we figured that our target audience, Maybe he doesn’t even have access to SEMrush, number one. Number two, um, they may not know how to use it to be able to get that information out of it.

And so, so big picture, we just decided, you know what? Let’s start finding these trending websites that are just starting to, to increase in traffic pretty quickly. And we can dig into them and we can unlock the mysteries of how they got to where they are. So, uh, you know, our, our goal is to kind of, you know, Try to hit different industries and niches and different things like that where we can um, you know so that there’s There’s, uh, people can identify with, oh, this site is in my vertical, right?

This is something that, that I can do. What did they do to do that? And so, so we’re just using, you know, a lot of a lot of the ways that we’re writing these case studies is we’re just using kind of the available information that we can get in some of these higher end tools to be able to track, um, you know, their, you know, Their traffic and monthly visits or, um, you know, back links and, you know, what, what is it that, that got them to where they were?

Was it programmatic SEO? Was it a huge giant, uh, potentially spammy backlink, uh, list, you know, there’s all these different things. And so. We’re kind of, you know, in a way, like this, you know, if we take a site, you know, I’ll just do our latest one, for example, uh, Sashen and Bobby, right? Like, they went from, uh, 26.

3 thousand to 220 thousand monthly visits. Like, what happened, right? How did they go from that 737 percent year over year growth? And so we can take a look at that. We can dive down into what it was that they did. And, you know, we can see, like, you know, we try to surface all this information, how old is this domain?

Um, kind of a little bit about them and who they are and what they’re doing. And then we kind of look at their growth and we say, what, what was it that they did, did they target low competition keywords, which is, which is one of the things that they did here. Um, and, and how did they go about do that doing that?

Was that programmatic SEO? Was that. You know, pumping out a thousand articles in two weeks period or whatever, because because people are trying like all of these different SEO methods in order to try to grow and rank. Um, and so we’re kind of unlocking that so that somebody can can kind of read the case study and say, okay, is this something that I want to try?

Or is this something I should avoid doing? Because potentially there could be issues with Google, you know, especially with all of the different helpful content updates and different things that have been happening recently. Okay. You got to be careful about these kind of things. So we’re we’re taking a very middleman approach and being able to say, Hey, this is what they’re doing.

These are the good things they’re doing. Maybe these are some things you should avoid doing. Um, and then being able to tie that into to our product as well and be able to say, this is how we can help you achieve that at the end of the day. And that’s, you know, that’s one of the reasons. That we’re doing this as well so that we can, we can add that value to, to our product as well.

Jared: I think if I could start to bring us to a close, I wanted to maybe ask a, uh, a very high level question, but I, what’s the biggest thing that you guys did? Since you jumped in with all in one SEO, um, that’s led to its continued success, growth, et cetera. Like whether it’s from a technical standpoint, from a product standpoint, from a marketing standpoint, like what do you, what do you, if you had to, and I know it’s a bit of a, um, uh, an overreaching question, right?

Very broad. And obviously it’s just for the sake of talking about it. But I mean, it’s, it’s interesting to think about it. Like you’ve talked about a lot of stuff from the first part of the podcast, all the technical Updates. You’ve talked about product market fit. You talked about different products. You guys launched inside of it.

We’ve talked about the marketing side of things and content marketing, email marketing, et cetera, conversions. Like we’ve talked about a lot of different things. If we could kind of bring it back, if, is there maybe one thing that stands out as the most influential thing that’s helped you guys grow over the last few.

Ben: That’s an excellent question. And there is an answer, but before I give you that answer, I want to say that it’s really hard to know that. It is the one and only thing because at the end of the day, we did so many things, right? Like, like all of the content, all of the, you know, all of the things that we’re doing in the growth side of it and, and the, in the product side, they all work together.

And we we’ve done a, I think we’ve done a pretty good job of being able to, to kind of drive one thing drives the other all the way up. And if we didn’t add to our, our content side, where would we be today? If we didn’t build new features, where would we be today? So. So there’s, um, there’s obviously, um, uh, a caveat to my answer and that’s what, that’s how I’ll put it.

But, but I, I might be biased, but as a, as a product guy, uh, I do believe that just kind of listening to our customers and building features that they want and that they’re using and seeing the feedback from them has really propelled us to, to the new height. Um, you know, the day that we hit, you know, went from the, you know, 2 million plus to 3 million plus.

Was an awesome day and you know, and I think that, and that happened before a lot of our, excuse me, before a lot of our content and growth initiatives came into play and it really propelled us in that sense. Um, and that’s just a testament to all of that hard work we put in to just rewrite and revamp the product.

And yeah, we had, you know, we had issues at the beginning, but, but once we began to build on that foundation, that solid foundation of a good product, the rest of it It’s a lot easier, right? Like the content stuff. It’s easy to write about something when you have a good foundation. It’s easy to be able to to write articles and be able to say, hey, what about this?

What about that? If we didn’t have a lot of the things we have, we didn’t build those features. I think it would be, you might be grasping a straws a little bit, right? Like Google really wants Yeah. To make sure that you’re an expert, that you have the expertise, that you have the authority. And part of that, that we can kind of prove those, those tenants is that we have this product and we’re talking a lot about what we’re doing and the foundation that’s there.

So, you know, so we still have a great solid roadmap coming forward. Like we’re still continuing to build out features and that’s going to be a foundation of where we are for. For the long term, right? Like that’s, that’s what the, that’s what we’re gonna do. But we know that, I know that I, we can’t just build a great product.

You have to tell people about it. You gotta market it. You gotta be able to, to put the, the word out there and say, Hey, this is something that we, we have built. So, so I would say that that obviously the feature set, just bringing it feature parity to the other offerings in the market. Building the SaaS services, um, continuing to list of our customers and adding things that they’re asking for, um, as quickly as we can.

Um. Uh, I think that that’s probably the number one thing. 

Jared: Tough question. I get it. If I were in your shoes, I’d say, well, it’s a combination of all the things we’ve done, but tough question, but it’s still fun to hear the way it’s, it’s less about the answer, more about the way that you answer it. Right. It’s like, it’s interesting to hear from someone kind of in the driver’s seat.

Um, Hey Ben, thank you so much for coming on board. Where can people follow along with yourself and with what SEO has? 

Ben: Yeah, absolutely. So, um, Obviously our website, aioseo. com is the best place to, to kind of see what our, our product is and our offerings that we have. Um, uh, we’re on, I’m on Twitter as well.

It’s at Benjamin P Rojas. I guess it’s X now, right? Like it’s, it’s hard to get used to the name. Um, and that’s probably the best thing, obviously, you know, if, if you wanted to reach out and contact me, you can, you know, get on the contact form on our website as well. But, but yeah, I’d love to hear from anybody who’s listening, if you guys have questions or follow up, but I definitely love to stay in touch.

Jared: Well, Ben, thanks for coming on the podcast. Appreciate it until we talk again next time. See ya. 

Ben: All right. Thank you, Jared.



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