It should come as no surprise that someone with an engineering background took so well to a field like SEO what with all the analysis and tool manipulation involved to win it. In this episode of the WP Elevation podcast, Matt Diggity tells Troy about his journey from electrical engineer to SEO. He also reveals a number of SEO tips he uses to get websites to the #1 position in Google SERPs (and hold them there).
Matt Diggity is an SEO, the founder of The Search Initiative and the organiser of the Chiang Mai SEO Conference.
Today, Matt calls Chiang Mai his home base, though he spends about 40% of the year travelling.
Before that, Matt was living a life that many of you can relate to. He was living and working as an electrical engineer in San Diego, California.
“I knew almost a year into the career that it was gruelling and quite painful.”
Burnout eventually drove him to quit his job. He attempted to make a go of teaching yoga, which, unsurprisingly, was a tough hustle after making six figures as an engineer. So, he returned to engineering.
During his second go at the engineering company, Matt began to research ways to make money online. That’s when he discovered SEO.
That’s also when he encountered Ed Dale’s 30-Day Challenge.
He did the challenge, made a $1 after the 30 days were up and that’s what got the ball rolling on his new income stream.
After cashing in on some stocks from the engineering gig — which he quit for the second time — as well as the money he was making from affiliate marketing, Matt decided to move to Chiang Mai permanently.
“It just didn’t make sense to me — the American mindset of making a lot of money; then, spending a lot more money to make you feel better about working that 60-hour week.”
Matt makes a good living from SEO and, yet, he readily admits that SEO is difficult. As he explains in the episode, there are certain fundamentals that will always remain the same — high-quality content, answering the search query completely and backlink building.
However, there is always something changing. Even for someone like Matt who does SEO for 30+ sites at all times, it’s a lot to stay on top of, especially since Google is less than transparent about its search algorithm updates.
Which is why the SEO tips he gives in the remainder of the episode are so valuable. Listen up.
Although clients may know what they want their website to rank for, it’s best if you can take control of the planning, copywriting and optimisation on their behalf.
Tip #1: Outsource the Writing
Just as the client outsources the building of a website to you, you should outsource the writing to a subject matter expert. They’ll know how to write a piece of content that reads well, looks good and hits on the key points.
It’s this framework that makes the readers happy.
Tip #2: Optimise for Robots
Matt and his SEO team step in and handle the search optimisation work to ensure that the (search) robots are kept happy, too.
That means aligning the content on the page with what the top-ranked pages have written about. This goes beyond just keyword research. His team has to look at the topics covered by the top 10 pages to ensure theirs has done the same… but better.
Tip #3: Automate Where Possible
There are two tools he uses to reduce this part of his workload:
WebSite Auditor: This tells you what common words and phrases are found in the websites on the first SERP. Then, compares them to your site.
TF-IDF: This stands for “term frequency — inverse document frequency”. It analyses the importance of a keyword in the grand scheme of things.
While Matt says that lengthy epic posts are good for backlink-building, they’re not great for answering search queries concisely.
Today, you have to think more about search intent. What are those questions that your audience is asking? And how have the websites on the first results page answered those questions?
It’s then your job to write up a piece of content that provides a complete (and better) answer — no shorter or longer than it needs to be.
Pssst… Have you heard about the WP Elevation formula to getting better clients and better fees? It’s not as difficult as you think! Find out more in this free workshop.
Backlinking is incredibly important in SEO, but not necessarily something people get right. Here are the qualities you should focus on when attempting to get a backlink from a source:
Just be careful with backlinks. Whether you’ve obtained them through outreach, link insertion or you paid for them (as Matt does through Authority Builders), it’s easy to get in trouble with Google over them.
In addition to the aforementioned tools, Matt suggests putting the following into your SEO toolbox:
Ahrefs – which he dubs his “Swiss army knife” for all things SEO.
AccuRanker – to keep tabs on progress. (Pro Rank Tracker is a solid alternative.)
Surfer SEO for deeper SERP analysis. (Or you can try Cora or Page Optimizer Pro.)
There are a number of ways to stay in touch with Matt Diggity and learn more of his SEO tips. The first is by checking out his website Diggity Marketing where he shares his Onsite SEO Guide. If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into SEO, consider checking out the Chiang Mai SEO Conference, scheduled for November of this year