Episode No:119

The SEO Trap: Avoiding Over-Reliance on a Single Acquisition Channel

Nate Matherson

Co-founder & CEO at Positional

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Ep 119: The SEO Trap:
Avoiding Over-Reliance on a Single Acquisition Channel ft. Nate Matherson (CEO, Positional)
Ep 119: The SEO Trap: Avoiding Over-Reliance on a Single Acquisition Channel ft. Nate Matherson (CEO, Positional)
  • Ep 119: The SEO Trap: Avoiding Over-Reliance on a Single Acquisition Channel ft. Nate Matherson (CEO, Positional)

Episode Summary

In this episode, host Adil Saleh interviews Nate Matherson, founder and CEO of Positional. They discuss how Nate has pivoted from previous startups into building Positional, a content optimization and SEO platform. The talk about the importance of picking the right keywords, creating high-quality content that adds value, and being patient with SEO as a long-term strategy for startups.
Key Takeaways Time
Nate’s journey from previous startups like ContainIQ to pivoting into building Positional 02:50
The challenges of customer acquisition and traction with ContainIQ that led Nate to pivot 03:50
How search engine algorithms and helpful content updates by Google are impacting content 13:05
Balancing content velocity vs quality and human-written vs AI-generated content 21:46
Key things startups should focus on for effective SEO and content marketing 38:10

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[00:00:03] Adil Saleh: Hey. Greetings, everybody. This is Adil, your host at the Hyperengage Podcast. In the past, like, we came across, so many market leaders. They're kind of struggling with inbound marketing. They are having hard time building their own personal brands. They all of us, we we think about building our own brands, do, like, kind of a founder led approach. A lot of folks on LinkedIn that you do there are successfully doing it and be sitting, a lot of founders in the in the early days, like, in the first two and a half years between c to series a or b. They are finding it very hard to get their content crushed And Right. So that is why we've had someone that is, not only a subject matter expert, on this, but has built amazing platforms in the past. In in in a slightly different category and had some exceptional pivots. So I'm talking about Nate, who's a founder of, and and cofounder and CEO of Positional. That is, a go to platform for all content writers, for strategic SEO, for better ranking, better, reach, on onto their content. And, you know, eventually, it it boils down to how you can effectively effectively, do inbound marketing for for B2B sales. Apart from that, he started back in 2014 for someone building amazing products. Exploring Nate Matherson's Entrepreneurial Journey [00:01:16] Adil Saleh: You know, he, he he built LendEDU. That is, for the house, you know, comparing finances more for individuals than, of course, of course, for B2B companies. Later on, they went into, Y Combinator in the in the winter 16 batch, which is like Y Combinator is one of the platforms that is is built. He's got some very long term relationship with Y Combinator. So a couple of his products, been back, and then he exited, 4 years later to build, another, platform that is more towards, like, I would say, teams building, you know, access points in Kubernetes There is more sort of technical. Then I wanted to ask him, that what what what was the one thing that he that made his pivot, to Positional. The speed that he counted back in, back in the years. And that, platform name is, is ContainIQ. So that is, that is a pivot. So this all of this, we're gonna be talking about with Nate. Pivoting from ContainIQ to Positional: A Founder's Journey [00:02:11] Adil Saleh: Thank you very much, for taking the time today. [00:02:14] Nate Matherson: Yeah. Thanks for having me on, the podcast. I'm excited to be here. [00:02:18] Adil Saleh: Love that. Love that. So, I was kind of curious about, about ContainIQ, that you started back in 2021, and then eventually, you pivoted Positional that as we we still find have to discover, but, like, what what what was, the that, you you know, you you connected with, with this? Like, what was your initial thought process, building, this platform ContainIQ? I was just let us, know a little bit about your journey and, your inception of, Positional. [00:02:50] Nate Matherson: Yeah. Well, you're right. We we pivoted to Positional from ContainIQ. And, you know, my cofounder, Matt, and I, we've been working together for a long time, like, 10, 10 or so years at this point. And and like you mentioned, you know, we started a company together back in, like, 2014. It was, you know, a B2C company. It was our first business, and, you know, it was a fun run, like, for, you know, 6, 7 years and, but Matt and I, like, knew we wanted to start another company together. And we also knew that we wanted to go after, like, a very big, like, massive market. And we also knew that we didn't wanna do B2C, we wanted to do B2B, and we also knew that we wanted to do B2B SaaS. And so my cofounder Nate and I spent, like, about 6 months just, like, thinking about, like, you know, opportunities that we solve, problems that we face that, like, we think we might wanna bite off with with company number 2, and that ultimately led us to starting ContainIQ a few years ago. ContainIQ was a platform for observability, specifically focused on, Kubernetes. And, you know, we had this idea that, like, we could use eBPF, which was and still is a relatively new technology to, you know, enhance the workflows, like, developer operations and, network engineering teams, and, we actually did Y Combinator a second time. So Matt and I, we did Y c with ContainIQ as part of the summer 21 batch. We built what I think became, like, a pretty robust product over the course of a couple of years, but we we really struggled to get traction. And, I think we really struggled to go up market. That was a that was a big issue that we that we faced. And after about like 2 years of making like micro pivots, we decided to just, like, rip the band aid off. We it became clear to us that, you know, if we spent the next year of runway working on ContainIQ, like, it it wasn't actually gonna be a very good outcome, or at least we didn't think there was a high probability of it being a good outcome and for us surviving. And so that ultimately led us to do, like, a pretty hard pivot, you know, 2 years into our business to positional. And I like to joke that, like, I'm probably the only founder that's ever pivoted from, like, Kubernetes observability into, like, tools for go to market and marketing teams. Challenges in Acquiring B2B Customers and Pivoting to a Customer Acquisition Solution [00:05:19] Nate Matherson: I think I probably am. Until, like, until someone proves me wrong, I'm gonna make that claim. And so, yeah. We've been working on Positional now for about like 15 months, and, it's not that I didn't enjoy my time in like the Kubernetes space, it's just, you know, if we're being honest, like, that that that that was not me. Like, you know, I've spent most of my career, acquiring customers. You know, my first company, we were effectively a lead generation business, and so I cut my teeth for the first 6, 7 years of my career acquiring customers. And in particular, like, content marketing and SEO was always such a fantastic channel for us. And so as Matt and I were thinking about, like, what we wanted to pivot to, I don't wanna say that we had, like, the idea for positional in our back pocket, but, like, Matt and I had joked for, like, 3, 4 years about starting Positional. We just never did it. And so as we were thinking about what we wanted to pivot to, you know, we we had this idea that, you know, positional, now Positional, we didn't have a name for it, at least initially, would would be something we'd be really excited to work on, given our experiences. And, and so it was a difficult decision to, like, make the pivot, but, fortunately, since we made the pivot 15 months ago, things have gone a lot better, for the business. You know, we still have our work cut out for us, but for me, it's a lot more fun, than, than being in the Kubernetes space. [00:06:48] Adil Saleh: Mhmm. Amazing. You know, what what's interesting is is the fact that you mentioned the challenge. Like, you were having hard time doing that market, getting traction, acquiring B2B leads, and basically monetizing business, in general. So, you know, and this is what basically Positional to, today. Like, we were looking at position for our podcast. We spoke to you, and I appreciate that you you took the time, you know, to guide us through, you know, how work what best we can do with the content and how we can drive, you know, more traction and traffic and all of that. So did you also think about, you know, the in a B2B space, I had this one question I I thought I would ask you when you come on. Is, like, acquiring a B2B customer, in in mid size customer is very, very hard these days. You know? Discussion on Organic Traffic and SEO Strategies for B2B Companies [00:07:33] Adil Saleh: And a lot of these companies that are more B2B focused, they are thinking of having, like, 10 or 15 logos in the 1st year, and they think, okay. Rest will be taken care of, and it's not easy. It was easy 2 years, two and a half years back. Pre COVID and maybe initial, when when, you know, VCs and, you know, all of these, investors, they put on the money, but now it's it's it's the hardest job. So now it's more about, you know, generating, organic traffic, you know, inbound leads and, you know, more data driven approaches and all. So what what do you what's your view on this this one? [00:08:03] Nate Matherson: Yeah. Well, people often look to, like, organic channels, like organic search, as just one example of an organic channel, as a, you know, a lower cost, customer acquisition method, versus, like, let's say Google Ads or, you know, LinkedIn Ads or whatever it might be. Sponsoring booth had a conference for a 100 grand. So, you know, and that's kinda why I fell in love with SEO in the first place, like, going back, like, 10 or 11 years. You know, at our first company, we, you know, we had to acquire customers. You know, I don't think customer acquisition is just hard in B2B. I think customer acquisition is hard for all startups, and we were in a space where, customer acquisition costs were extremely high. And, like, we literally couldn't go out and afford to, like, buy ads or, you know, acquire customers in a in a paid way. And so we had to find, like, a method in which to acquire customers at a lower price point, organically. And that's really where we fell in love with SEO. Like, I had a writing background, but I'd never done SEO before, and over the course of, like, 6, 7 years, we scaled our blog to, like, many hundreds of thousands of visitors a month, and it became, like, our number one customer acquisition channel. I think, like, SEO and and SEO in particular, like, there there are some nuance to differences between doing, like, you know, B2B SEO and B2C SEO, but, generally, like, the strategy is pretty similar. You know, after I transitioned out of B2C, I actually did build what became, I think, the largest Kubernetes blog over the course of a couple of years, that contain IQ. So [00:09:42] Adil Saleh: You know what? My my CTO, when I mentioned your, ContainIQ to him, and he said it was just a blog. I said he didn't mention anything on this. Is that is that true? You know that? Yes. He said yes. I've been I've been reading those blogs, and they had, like, huge amount of traffic, and it was just a blog in the beginning. And now you're second then. [00:10:00] Nate Matherson: Yeah. You know, we grew our Kubernetes blog to, about, like, 200,000 readers a month, over the course of, like, a year and a half. So we moved really quickly. And I also like to joke that, like, I built, I think, the largest Kubernetes blog Nate knowing anything about Kubernetes, which I've I find kind of funny. I had to learn, like, as we went. Right? Like, I I actually did write, like, 20 or 30 articles on the website, so I I managed to learn as I went. But at least initially, I didn't know anything about Kubernetes. I just knew kind of fundamentally how to do SEO. Like, you have to figure out, like, what people are searching for, you have to create really great content that, like, answers those questions people have, and, like, we did that in the Kubernetes space. And so, you know, I built the Kubernetes blog, and then I'm thinking, like, hey, I'm talking to other all these other startup founders also who are trying to build blogs, like, maybe we can help them do that with, like, a a tool set. And that also kind of led us to to building Positional, which, you know, now today is a tool set for content marketing and SEO teams. And so it's been a long road to get here to Positional, but I really think, like, all of the experiences that I've had building organic search channels over the last 10 years has now led us to the point where we're trying to build a toolset for, people like us. And, yeah. Right. No. Yeah. We ended up selling the blog, from Containment IQ. So I don't own it anymore, but I I kinda wish that I did. I think it'd be fun to still own that blog. Discussion on B2B SEO strategies and algorithm changes in content saturation [00:11:28] Adil Saleh: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. That's gonna be Adil, big thing. I mean, you can have your own categories. You can talk about all the other things too, because all of these, teams doing, you know, in a b to b space and the engineering teams, they are part of b to b SaaS, and they can be a good advocate, of your content, you know, when they're gonna write Positional. [00:11:49] Nate Matherson: Yeah. You know, I to your point on, like, you know, B2B SEO, like, I I think for, like, B2B companies, the conversion process is more nuanced. Like, on my podcast, like, the optimized podcast, I like to say that, like, traffic doesn't equal dollars. But for for us at our first company, like, traffic did equal dollars. Like, the more traffic we got to our website, the more dollars we made. But, like, in B2B SEO, that conversion process is typically a lot more nuanced. And so, like, as you think about, like, the keywords you wanna target, the different stages of the funnel you wanna target, I learned a lot, from my experience building that Kubernetes blog in a B2B space versus all the the time I'd spent previously in the B2C space. [00:12:42] Adil Saleh: Mhmm. Right. Right. And one question I have had that with me as well, like, what what kind of algorithm changes have been made in in Nate ever since, some evolution of the AI, saturation of the content, a a lot of saturation in the content, and compared to when you started your your blog, to Yeah. What what kind of difference is you see? Because my cofounder and my team says, hey. No. It's not gonna work like, the way we used to do back in 2016, 17 when I was working building a team, you know, customer skills. And we used to go partner up with different, companies, lookalike audiences, the product and do collabs. Like, getting, like, guests posting and, you know, backlinks and all of that. And and a lot of my team members now decide that it's not gonna work as, as as as much as it did back in the years. [00:13:30] Nate Matherson: Yeah. Well, you know, I still think backlinks are quite important. You know, even I think last week, Google said, like, they're not that important. But, you know, I I think that, like, I talk to a lot of early stage startups, and, like, the first thing they say to me is, like, Nate, I wanna build some backlinks. And I say to them, like, unless you do the first two parts right, which are, like, the right keywords, the right content, then going out and building, like, a whole bunch of backlinks isn't actually gonna be that helpful for your website. Impact of Algorithm Changes on SEO Strategies [00:13:59] Nate Matherson: Like, if you have, you know, done those first two parts right, you've got great content, you've picked the right keywords, then, yeah, totally. Building some backlinks, doing some guest posting, I think that all is really impactful, and it's kinda like pouring fuel on the fire. But to your question on, like, algorithm changes, yeah. I mean, it's been a busy year, in terms of volatility, in terms of algorithm updates. You know, back when I first started doing SEO, it it it I actually got into SEO right after, like, the, Google Penguin and Panda updates, which at the time, in, like, the early 2000 tens, were, like, some very significant algorithm updates that that caused a lot of website owners a lot of grief. You know, in many ways back then, like, Google was trying to reduce the amount of, like, spam in its search results. And so Google has been thinking about, like, spam generally for a long time. But, like, for the first, like, 7 or so years of my career, there might have been, like, one big algorithm update a year. And, like, that was kind of it. Like, so we would brace for this one big algorithm Nate. It could be really positive. It could be really negative, but it would happen basically once or twice a year. What's changed in the last year is that now it feels like every month and a half, there is, like, a new core algorithm update. So, like, the cadence in which Google has been rolling out these updates has increased pretty dramatically, and also we're seeing a lot of volatility. So towards the end of last year, Google rolled out the helpful content update, and this wasn't the first time that Google mentioned helpful content. Like, they they announced the helpful content system in 2022, and they rolled out in September of 2023 a helpful content update. Essentially, what Google said is they're trying to reduce the amount of unhelpful search results in search. This update came in a very interesting time though too given, like, the rise in popularity of, like, AI writing tools like ChatGPT. And I think over, like, that 1 year period from 2022 to 2023, Google saw that the search results were, like, getting polluted or spammed by websites that were publishing large amounts of unhelpful AI generated content. And so, like, Google has said very mixed things about AI generated content. You know, at times, they've said you can use it. At other times, members of their team have said not to use AI generated content. But, like, these days, Google is basically saying, like, any content that's low quality, that's been created to manipulate search results is low quality. And so that update that happened at the end of 2023 caused a lot of websites, to, go down pretty significantly in terms of traffic. [00:16:36] Adil Saleh: Lot of websites, yeah. [00:16:39] Nate Matherson: But, you know, in 2024, in March, Google released the March core update, which has largely been an extension of the helpful content update. And Google just finished rolling out that update in Adil, and, they actually said that they reduced the amount of unhelpful content in search results by about 45%. And so it kinda begs the question, like, what is helpful content? And, like, this is a question that, like, I get asked a lot, and I and I Google, like, to my knowledge, doesn't really clearly identify what helpful content is, they just tell you what unhelpful content is. But in my experience, like, helpful content is content that adds something new to the Internet. Creating SEO-friendly content in a volatile environment [00:17:25] Nate Matherson: Like, that's the bar that I operate from with our blog. You know, I I wanna think critically about that piece of content I'm creating and saying, like, what is my piece of content adding to the conversation? If I'm not adding anything new to the conversation, then I I don't think my piece of content is helpful. I also think that, like, Google is prioritizing content that has real experiences. Like, Google wants to, like, surface those unique experiences, that, like, only I have lived through, and I can, you know, tell a story within that piece of content about my experience with a given topic. I think that's very important these days. Also too, like, you wanna make sure your has helpful graphics and videos. Like, that's another way to make your content more unique and helpful. Mhmm. You wanna bring in expert quotes. And we do all of these things with our blog app, Positional. And so I think, like, companies tend to see, like, SEO as, like, often, like, a secondary focus. Like, they kind of create a lot of content that doesn't really say anything new or helpful, and then they're surprised as to why it doesn't perform well on search engines. And so I think if you're gonna do one thing right in all of this, it would just be to create actually really great content. You know, if you're gonna do 2 things right, it's create really great content and pick the right keywords. And then if you're gonna do 3 things right, it's create really great content, pick the right keywords, and then build some backlinks. And that's what you needed to do. Mhmm. So in short, yeah, it's been a very volatile 6 months. Using AI Generated Content Wisely Without Risking Plagiarism [00:18:56] Adil Saleh: Mhmm. Mhmm. And and, Nate, one thing also, wanted to question, like, in terms of AI generated content. A lot of these content teams, of course, I have a team too, so I want them to, you know, work smartly and save their time using AI. What is it one thing that you would suggest, you know, using AI but not, you know, going into the plagiarism and, you know, AI generated, recognized by algorithms and taken down, you know, content and bounced back, by Yeah. Visitors on on Google. What what is that? One thing I have heard, just recently, I was reading up something on LinkedIn, and, basically, LinkedIn is recognizing cluster of keywords around different category topics, and that are AI generated. And they're just taking taking down those points. They're not giving reach and outreach to those posts again, assume Oh, that's so interesting. [00:19:47] Nate Matherson: That, like, in LinkedIn is able to recognize AI generated content spam. [00:19:51] Adil Saleh: I mean, it's based on some keywords. [00:19:53] Nate Matherson: Yeah. You know, anytime I read a blog post and I see the word, like, unleashing or unlocking, like, I know that that content was written Yeah. They love those big words. But, yeah. I mean, you know, there are a lot of AI detectors out there. I think, like, if these detection tools are reasonably good, I would say that Google probably can detect AI generated content with a much higher degree of accuracy than, like, a a tool that you could buy could. But, you know, I think, like, AI generated content, like, you can use it as a starting point. That would be my recommendation. Like, you can use it to kinda get, like, the the juices flowing. Like, and, you know, our customers would always ask me, like, hey. You know, 50% of this article is AI generated. 50% of this article is human written. Is that okay? Tell them, like, there's not a rule. Like, I can't tell you, like, what percentage of your article should be human or AI. I think the more important thing is, like, if you are using AI generated content, are you still checking out or checking off all of those other boxes? Like, is your article saying something new? Are you, you know, telling a great story? Like, are you adding helpful graphics and visuals? And so I think there is a place for an AI writing tool as a as a way to get started. But what I wouldn't be doing is publishing, like, hundreds of articles to your website overnight with chat gpt. Positional: A Conversation with Nate Matherson [00:21:12] Nate Matherson: And at this point, I've seen, like, so many startups do that. Like, you know, wake up one day and publish 800 articles to their log with chat gpt. I don't think that's an effective strategy. But also too, like, even if you drive traffic to a web page, like, you need to make that reader want to, like, convert and work with you. And so, like, often, like, AI generated content is just very boring. It's like reading, like, a Wikipedia page. And so and I don't think that's the type of content that's gonna convert the customer regardless. [00:21:46] Adil Saleh: Mhmm. Okay. And one thing as you as you mentioned, like, what betters most? Like, is that velocity or it's just a quality of 1 or both? Like, of course, to, to to make sure that we cover the both, you gotta make sure you invest time, resources. And, of course, it's gonna be human led. It's gonna be editors, you know, generating that content. Maybe all the boxes that you mentioned, of course, it's not gonna be AI. It's gonna be people 60, 70% of the time. So what do you think? It's gonna be velocity? Because, as you said, it's not gonna work, like, if you do want to achieve velocity using AI. [00:22:19] Nate Matherson: Yeah. I mean, I think, like, velocity generally is important in SEO in the very early stages because, like, you need to give Google enough context as to, like, what your website is a good source of information on. And so, like, it it does in the in the early days of SEO, like, by publishing a lot of content very quickly, like, it can ultimately have a positive impact on on the initial performance of your website. But, like, I generally, these days, fall into the camp of, like, quality over quantity. I would rather have, like, one really great piece of content than, like, 3, like, not so great pieces of content. So I would on the side of quality over quantity today as as far as velocity goes. [00:23:02] Adil Saleh: Mhmm. Oh, interesting. Interesting. So now thinking about, you know, Positional. Like, let's, let's get it, on on position as a product. Discussion on Time to Value Initiatives in Content Marketing [00:23:11] Adil Saleh: Like, what is like, how what what kind of initiatives are you taking towards time to value? Because this can be a concern. Like, if, a content marketing team signs up and, you know, how soon they they get value out of the product, what kind of initiatives are we taking? Any any technologies are you using, towards, like, measuring that, like, success metrics? Or any what what kind of process do you have in place? [00:23:33] Nate Matherson: Yeah. So Positional, given that we have, like, 12 different features, like, depending on, like, the customer, like, it will often depend on, like, what tools they're using first. Like, if it's a very early stage company, like, the first thing that they're gonna be doing is using, like, our keyword research tools and maybe our content optimization tool optimize. And, like, those tools can provide pretty, like, quick value, at least from, like, a planning standpoint. But like I say to all the early stage companies that we work with, like, SEO is a, it's a long term channel. Like, you you really have to commit, like, 3, 4, 5 months of work to start to see that it's working. Otherwise, like, don't sign up for our product. But then we also work with, like, a lot of, like, larger companies that already have, like, fairly established content and SEO teams or websites. And, for those customers, like, they might get a lot of value very quickly from, like, our internal linking tool set. And so it does depend on the stage of the business in terms of what they use first and where they get that value first, but it's something we're thinking a lot about right now. Like, how can we, you know, tie that workflow together in a in a simpler, faster way to to make people feel like they're getting value faster, it's definitely something we're thinking a lot about. And, also, how do we get our users to adopt each of our features? [00:24:55] Adil Saleh: Oh, yes. Adoption is is is the bigger concern because, you know, all the people that get activated, they need to be, of course, adopted the platform, and that that way you drive retention and then, of course, expansion. I have one, question on this too because we spoke to you, about our website, our content. We'd like we had, like, 110 episodes sitting on our on our website for the last 6 months. When I met you, it was just 3 months. We we pushed our website and web pages, indexed it on Google and all. And at that point, it was just around, I guess, 6, 700, people that ever visited. And now I just checked before this episode, it was around 4,500. So it's wrapping on. As you mentioned that it takes time. The engines take time. And we did some of the linkings because some of the glossary items, keywords, they were getting ranked or getting impressions, and we we started, embedding those on the relevant topics on the blogs or episodes, that we've done. Nice. And that way, it it it got some like, more than 4,000, now, visitors that we have ever since then, like, in 3 months Yeah. Which we couldn't achieve. [00:25:56] Nate Matherson: I love that. I love that. Like, I love that you guys have prioritized internal linking. It's so important in terms of helping Google understand what your website's about and how all of your pages are are interconnected and related to one another. So but congrats on the the increase in traffic. That's awesome to hear. Discussion on Implementing Keyword Clustering Strategies [00:26:13] Adil Saleh: Yeah. And one more thing that we're we're doing because we've now hired product marketing guy, 1st marketing full time hire that we had. Now we are thinking of, first getting, all those pillars. Let's say, pillars will be defined with personas, and then, again, so all the personas will have cluster of keywords. Around all those cluster of keywords, we'll have topics. So whenever we're gonna be doing an episode or writing a piece of, content, be it newsletter, be it blog, be it, you know, a short blog on the episode, We will follow those clustered keywords. And that way, we'll just link all of those towards one high level topic, which is, let's say, customer orchestration engine. We are we're working towards, like, as a product. So this is what you suggested to us, and, you know, we are following up just so you know. [00:26:57] Nate Matherson: Yeah. You know, I love keyword clustering, and, we've got a tool for that app positional too. But, yeah, I think, you know, mapping your topics out in an intelligent way in terms of the categories and clusters you wanna serve and and connecting all of those pages within the cluster with internal linking, it's it's so important to do, and I'm glad to hear that you guys are doing that. Post Sales Strategies for B2B Companies [00:27:18] Adil Saleh: Mhmm. Amazing. And and thinking about now, thinking about post sales side of things, at Positional, you talked about onboarding. You said that you you're gonna make sure that you you enable the system where you sit puts make it self serve and then, of course, make your customers, realize value and adopt the platform. Thinking about retention, you know, you guys have any kind of dashboard? What what what what those numbers look like in in terms of growth? Like, how people are, adopting these, especially B2B companies because this is a really big challenge. And I'm sure a lot of these folks listening. Yeah. This this episode will definitely [00:27:56] Nate Matherson: We we use a tool set, called, June Analytics. It's it's another Y Combinator company. [00:28:02] Adil Saleh: Yes. Big fan of You [00:28:03] Nate Matherson: might have them on your podcast. Right? Did you have Big fan [00:28:06] Adil Saleh: of the podcast. Too. Yeah. [00:28:08] Nate Matherson: Yeah. Yeah. We, we we use June. The whole team over there has been Nate. Super helpful. And so, like, we're able to define, like, retention metrics across our different features, using June. So that would be the tool that we use to track adoption of features as well as retention to certain features. [00:28:27] Adil Saleh: Mhmm. Okay. And you you got some, like, customer success sort of operation pretty much build with you, like, or or is this this that [00:28:35] Nate Matherson: Customer success is customer If it's something that's oh, sorry. Go ahead. [00:28:43] Adil Saleh: Yeah. So customer success, like, in a in a startup, like, in the first, like, 12, 15, 15 months, of course, cofounders do all their attention. They make sure they work, with the customer. They, like, feature Nate is one thing that you mentioned you're you're using JUNE to track that. So you're you're setting all of all of those on top of all of those data points, and you're doing all the touch points, with with the customers. [00:29:05] Nate Matherson: Yeah. Yeah. I'm the one who handles, like, retention and follow us up follow us up with customers to check-in on them and answers the questions that they have. And so yeah. It it can it can take a lot of time certain days, but, I think we we kinda pride ourselves on, like, being very hands on at this early stage that our business is in and and trying to make sure that, like, our our customers are successful. [00:29:33] Adil Saleh: Cool. Cool. And and as as a free product market fit company in the 1st 2 years, what do you think? Like, what is gonna be your best go to market? Like, organically, of course, it's gonna be a long term. Do not 100% reliant on Nate, or are you? And what kind of other, you know, go to market or I would say outbound or inbound marketing that you you're doing? [00:29:52] Nate Matherson: Yeah. The one thing I learned from my first company is that, like, SEO shouldn't be your only customer acquisition channel. That was, kind of the trap that I fell into. It's like a blessing and a curse, but I I fell into that trap at my first company. And so, you know, SEO is definitely not gonna be Positional's only customer acquisition channel, but, you know, we are building a blog, a fairly substantial blog. We've published about, like, 90 blog posts so far. We actually just published 5 new blog posts today. And so I do write a lot of content, on our blog and, that's definitely a longer term bet for us and it it's starting to pay off. We also repurpose a lot of that content to LinkedIn, Twitter. We have an email newsletter where a lot of that content gets shared as well. Strategies for Leveraging Podcasts and LinkedIn for Marketing [00:30:35] Nate Matherson: And then also too, like, I have a podcast, and, you know, I'm I'm about, like, 50 episodes into to our podcast, and it's a weekly podcast, and I'd never done a podcast before. But it's kinda like SEO where, like, it takes some [00:30:48] Adil Saleh: time to, like, get [00:30:49] Nate Matherson: some momentum. Yeah. And, you know, the longer you stay in the game, like, probably the more successful you're gonna be. And so, we we we we have our own podcast as well. It gets about, like, 400 or so listens each week. So it's it's growing and, you know, so we're very much like an inbound marketing operation, for our tool set for inbound marketers. [00:31:12] Adil Saleh: Okay. Cool. Love that. I'm I'm so glad that you are, you're 4 40, 50 episodes, into your your podcast. Congratulations. And, you know, I know it's it's something that's, initially for someone like us, like, if I take it on my on me, I've been a sales guy more in the meetings, calls, all all my life. I mean, I had a first time on in front of the camera doing the podcast. It was such a discomfort in the, you know, in the first 10 episodes. Is it was just a nightmare. And I'm sure that we have, so, you know, we we learn. And just like I'm learning a lot from from you today, and I'm just making sure I make notes and I relisten it, before before I before it goes out. So now thinking about LinkedIn you mentioned, you know, a lot of these folks, they're they have started, doing more of the video content. What do you think? Like, versus, like, during episodes, like, what is your strategy of, you know, distributing and repurposing, and what what content brings you the most, amount of potential traffic. Is that a video? Is that, like, the post? Is that Oh, man. [00:32:12] Nate Matherson: I mean, I'm a I'm a sucker for carousels. Like, I I love those things. So I know LinkedIn took away, like, the carousel feature, but you can still, like, upload a PDF, which is like, very similar to to very similar to a carousel. And so I love those those things. So, like, if I write, like, a 4,000 word blog post about programmatic SEO, like, what we'll do is we'll might we might cut that up into, like, slides and put together a little carousel. And those things tend to get the most engagement, that at least for my profile that I found. I we do do some video. Like, we'll cut up clips from our podcast and put those on LinkedIn. Those don't do as well for us, but, you know, they're still helpful each week for driving some engagement. And then, you know, like, I do I do I I try to stay active. I mean, I I go in bits and spurts. So, like, a couple weeks ago, I I had posted on LinkedIn every day for, like, 2 weeks. But the last couple weeks, I haven't posted anything. And so, I kinda go in these, like, bits and spurts in terms of my activity on LinkedIn, and I, you know, I'm I'm trying to get back to, at least every other day in terms of posting. Mhmm. Maybe it's not every day, but every other day, I think, for the rest of this year, that would be a good goal for me. [00:33:30] Adil Saleh: Another notion, another experiment, that one of our friends, Alfred, he did. He actually, did the same, like, for 10 days, and then he just took off. Like, he just, you know, had a, you know, time off out in the mountain with with with family, and he just never saw Linkedin. And then and what he got in return when he when he got back, he saw completely new experiences, like, people coming up. So is that sort of since someone that I'm I'm talking to, like, who's learning through these algorithm and navigating through these algorithms on Google, what do you think about LinkedIn? Like, it's just like I I have, like, around 6, 7,000 hours. I had never, noticed, but I just see the. Because it's my job. Like, I do outreach. I do collaborate more. [00:34:14] Nate Matherson: don't I've heard a lot about, like, the LinkedIn algorithm changes. Like, I I've heard that and I'm by no means, like, a LinkedIn algorithm expert, but I've heard that, like, LinkedIn over the last few months, has been trying to, like, like, I I I would just say, like, hone in the targeting on on the content that you publish. Like, I I think last year, like, you could go a bit broader in terms of, like, your your posts and the topics you posted about, and, like, they would get general broad reach. But it seems like, from what I've heard is that, like, the more specific you are now in terms of the audience you're trying to target on LinkedIn, the better it would will do. That's something I've heard. I'm not sure how accurate that is, but, yeah. I mean, I found that, like, you wanna it's similar to, like, an SEO blog post. Like, you won't wanna tell a story, in that LinkedIn post. Like, you wanna have the hook. You wanna get people engaged. You wanna tell them a personal story. You wanna you wanna share something that makes people emotionally resonate with your post. And so when it when it all possible, I try to, like, I try to make my LinkedIn post feel like you're having a conversation with Nate. That's kind of my bar. [00:35:30] Adil Saleh: Yeah. Yeah. It has to be like that. Any content. We don't like the newsletter or blog. It it needs to have an experience and psychological experience and connection, with people. Nate, I would love for you to, you know, mention some of the things that any startup founder in the 1st 2 to 3 years listening to this, should and must do, SEO wise, you know, content marketing wise. And and, of course, everything complements towards, well, you know, marketing and then then sales. So what is that one or two things that you would, you know, must want these folks to follow and do it now. [00:36:05] Nate Matherson: From an SEO standpoint, like, the first most important thing is just to pick the right keywords. Like, anybody that says, like, keyword research is dead on LinkedIn just is an idiot. So, yeah. Like, you wanna pick the right keywords, out of the gate. You wanna think critically about, like, those different stages of the funnel you wanna target. So, like, there will be keywords at the bottom of the funnel, middle of the funnel, top of the funnel. You wanna think critically about those different stages, and also how you prioritize prioritize one stage over another. You wanna create great content, like we've talked about, like, quality over quantity, because SEO is a channel that should have a really long shelf life, and so if I'm gonna write a blog post that hopefully people are reading in 5 years from now, like, I wanna put my best foot forward with that piece of content. And so, like I said, you just really have to do 2 things alright. You gotta pick the right keywords. You gotta create great content, and if you just do those two things right, you'll be successful. But maybe the most important thing is, like, don't give up. Like, if it feels like you're doing a lot of work for 3 to 4 months and nothing is really happening, that's, like, totally normal. You just gotta keep keep the pace and stay the course. And, you know, the number of startups that I talk to that that tell me, like, hey, Nate. Like, you know, I tried SEO 2 years ago and it didn't work. And I say to them, like, why didn't it work? And they're like, well, oh, we don't know. And I'm like, how many pieces of content did you publish? And they're like, we published 4 pieces. And I'm like, well, that that's why it didn't work. And so you just gotta keep stay the course. Be consistent. [00:37:31] Adil Saleh: Consistent. Yeah. [00:37:32] Nate Matherson: And, and be patient. [00:37:35] Adil Saleh: Yeah. I I I love that. I love the patience part because it happens with me a lot. And and, you know, this there's another way of thinking as well as it it it resonates with the way you're explaining. Like, it's something that nobody might nobody might clap for you today. But, of course, you still gotta be in it and consistent and consistently write content, push content. Once you know your topics and know your keywords, all you need to do, you need to feed it with your knowledge. It can be opinionated. You are the master or whatever you know. I mean, a lot of these folks that don't post, they think that, okay. When people look at it at this, it's just gonna be so generic or so basic or so, you know, newbie content to them, and, I'm gonna look really, really bad. So a lot of these folks, they think, and it happened with me for quite some sometime. So it's all about being shameless, in a lot of times, especially on social media networks. Yeah. You know? And and Oh, [00:38:31] Nate Matherson: yeah. Totally agree with you there. Yeah. On LinkedIn, sometimes it can feel very, cringey, but you just kinda have to fight through the cringe. Stay consistent. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me on the podcast. [00:38:43] Adil Saleh: Yeah. I really appreciate your time. It was, so inspiring to have your journey, out out to the audience and, you know, letting people know that what you have for in terms of SEO. I'm sure there's so much to learn from people, from this episode, and we look forward to, you know, getting this, this on the air soon. [00:39:03] Nate Matherson: Yeah. And if you're interested in Positional, you can go to positional.com. We have a self-service product now, so you can play around with it with our free trial and tell me if tell me if you don't like it or if you do like it. Either one would be great to hear your feedback. And my email is nate@positional.com too if you have any questions. [00:39:21] Adil Saleh: Absolutely. Thank you.

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