Welcome to the 17th episode of our podcast!

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CP17: Podcast with Neil Patel from Kissmetrics, Quicksprout, NeilPatel.com & more Talking about Building Online Businesses


Martin: Hi! Today we have a very big domain expert in the house. Neil Patel is an expert on everything – on building online businesses and SEO. Hi, Neil! Thank you so much for joining this podcast.

Neil: Thanks for having me.

Martin: Great. For the readers who don’t know you yet, can you briefly describe your entrepreneur journey?

Neil: Yes. I’m a serial entrepreneur. I started off creating businesses for marketers and business owners, right? It’s all revolving around marketing. And in essence, what my goal was is to just help companies grow whether that’s traffic, online sales, that’s what my core focus is.

Martin: Great. And at what point in time did you think about starting your own business?

Neil: I started my own business when I was 16.

Martin: Wow.

Neil: And when I was 16, it was a job board, it didn’t work out well but I then created a marketing agency that helped people generate more traffic. And the reason I started out young is: I wanted to do something and I was too young, a good paying job, right? In the U.S, most jobs, you don’t get them until you’re done with college.

Martin: That’s true. Okay, and can go give us some kind of insights, what type of companies did you start? I mean, I know that, but maybe for introducing that to the readers.

Neil: I’ve done start-ups, to bigger companies now like Airbnb when they were a start-up, all the way to corporations like the Walmart, the General Motors, ViaCom, Google, Facebook, eBay, Amazon – I worked with them all.

Martin: Cool, great. I mean, let’s dig deeper into how to build an online business because I know you have worked on Kissmetrics, you have started NeilPatel.com, Quicksprout and now also doing some Nutrition Secrets. What type of tips can you give us in terms of balancing traffic growth and monetization? So, at what point in time should I focus on what?

Neil: It depends on your niche. But if you’re in the B2B niche, anytime you’re, let’s say, under a hundred thousand like if you’re at that ten-twenty thousand visitors a month, you’re starting to have enough people where you can look at monetization. If you’re in the consumer niche, if you have under fifty or a hundred thousand visitors, it’s not that many, you can still monetize but typically you want to start shooting for about fifty thousand.

Martin: Okay, cool. And typically when I look at those, kind of, online businesses, they are mainly having three paths:

  • so one thing is traffic generation,
  • then there is this kind of email collection, lead magnets and
  • the last thing is trying to monetize and sell those people something.

What type of best practices have you learned in terms of really collecting much more emails from the people visiting your website?

Neil: Yes, one of the best practice I’ve learned when it comes to collecting emails is to give them more information than the related page they’re on. So if they’re reading a blog post on getting more search traffic from Google, you offer this as PDF this report, it’s called the content upgrade. If you put it in email; they’ll get ten more ways to generate more traffic from Google. It’s very relevant and much more likely to collect a lot of emails.

Martin: And how do you select those kind of upgrade content? So, imagine you’re writing something on, I don’t know, the best back linking tools or so. How do you come up with relevant content upgrade?

Neil: So whatever your blog post is on, just do more of it. So if it is like a big list, it’s like a hundred and one ways, your upgrade can be a checklist. If your blog post is how to do something, your content upgrade could be “X more ways to do that same thing”, right? Or it could be like “X case studies of companies who implement it successfully”. So, it just has to be very relevant. Assuming they read the content upgrade, it should help them do the job better.

Martin: Cool. Neil, so when you start out some new online business, for example, like you did with the Nutrition Secrets, how do you find an idea that is worth going after? What type of criteria are you using?

Neil: I look up market cap, so I use Google Trends to type in industry keywords and it helps me to see how big an industry is. The bigger the industry, the more likely I am to go after.

Martin: And how do you define the competitiveness?

Neil: I don’t really look at competitiveness; I just look at how big it is.

Martin: Wow, cool.

Neil: So, when it comes to competitiveness, I just look at how many bloggers are there. So for example, an online marketing world, there are more people than in the nutrition space, more competitive because I’m competing with marketers. Yet, there’s less traffic in the marketing space.

Martin: Okay, cool.

Neil: So each visitor is worth more money, right?

Martin: Yes, okay, great!


Martin: Let’s talk a little bit about SEO because I know you’re a big expert in this domain as well. So, how do I get backlinks? So imagine I’ve started a blog and I’m writing some kind of content and now, the question is: Everybody tells me I should do some type of blogger outreach in order to track some back links. Actually, can you walk me through step by step, how should I do that?

Neil: Yes, if you’re trying to track backlinks, the one thing I would do is use the tool like Ahrefs.com, put in URLs and everyone who links to that competitors or put into my competitor URLs, I see everyone who links them and then I’ll just start shooting up emails. I’ll be like:

Hey Martin, I notice you’re linked to XYZ website and it’s an awesome resource but have you seen this resource? It includes 20 more ways to blow your traffic or whatever it may be…”

And doing that kind of stuff really helps generate more backlinks because you’re providing more value and not just asking for a link. You’re trying to tell them: “Hey, you know, my version of it is better off.”

Martin: And what type of conversion rates can I expect? Say, imagine, I’m emailing 100 people who are linking to some kind of competitor website. What type of conversion rate can I expect in having a backlink?

Neil: If you’re getting around 5%, you’re doing good.

Martin: And how do you scale this kind of thing because I imagine this to be very time consuming?

Neil: Yes, there’s no real good way to scale it.

Martin: Good, awesome. If you’re looking at onsite SEO, what type of techniques can you identify for improving the user signals on your blog posts?

Neil: Make sure you’re cross linking; you have good descriptive title text, and that your click-through rate is good. With the onpage SEO it just comes to using the best practices and making sure the click-through rates are good.

Martin: By click-through rate, you mean from the Google search result to my page?

Neil: Well, if you go to Google search console, you can see your click-through rate from everyone searching for a keyword.

Martin: Yes.

Neil: But in essence, what you want to end up doing is, like you mentioned, if people searching on Google and how many of them went through? Google search console shows you how many impressions you got per keyword and your click-through rate and you can compare to your others ones to see if it’s low or high.

Martin: And what type of tips can you provide our readers for improving these click-through rates? So that, for example, I’m looking for, I don’t know, ‘business plan’ or something like this and they are some one million search results. And I’m just looking at the first ten, what can I do in order to get from position 10 to position 6 for example just based on improving the text, meta text, or something like that?

Neil: Yes, first off, when you change your click-through, or your title, and you improve your click-through, it does not improve your ranking right away. It can take months before you see the results from it. But there’s a few things:

  • One, don’t just put keywords in there. Ideally, you want to have keywords people are searching for but you don’t want to stuck with more and more keywords. You want your title very readable so that way, people are like: “Oh, cool, let me read this and then click-through on it, it seems really appealing”.
  • The next thing is about curiosity. The more curious your title is, the more clicks you’ll get.
  • The third thing is informational like how-to guides, lists. Think like magazine headlines, they do very well. Those are the type of titles that get a lot of clicks.

Martin: Okay, cool. And how do I define if you look at the content, what specific articles do you want to write about? For example, if you’re looking at NeilPatel.com, so how do you find your content roadmap?

Neil: You use a tool called Buzzsumo. You put your keywords in there related to your space and it will give you ideas or topics that done well in the past and you want to write similar articles.

Martin: But still, you want to optimize those articles somehow. And what are you doing in this regard?

Neil: Optimizing for click-through, or are you talking about optimizing the articles?

Martin: The article itself.

Neil: Well, for the article itself, it’s pretty simple.

  • One, I write in a conversational tone, I use the words “you and I” often as if it’s a conversation which people want to read it, comment, etc.
  • Two, I make the paragraph short like five-six line paragraphs max that way it makes it more readable.
  • I use some subheadings. Subheadings describe what the section is about and makes it more skimmable and then the subheadings, you can also add keywords.
  • I put a question at the end of each blog post; it helps in encouraging more comments.

Those are the main things that I do when I’m writing articles.

Martin: Okay, cool. So when I’m looking at lots of websites, some of them have a high bounce rate, some of them have a low one. What is your perspective on having a high bounce rate and what type of things can I do and should I even do then to lower the bounce rate?

Neil: Bounce rate is hard to control. You ideally want to control it but in most cases I wouldn’t worry about bounce rate, I would just focus on providing the best user experience. And if you provide the best user experience overtime you will notice that your bounce rate decreases.

Martin: Okay, cool.


Martin: What type of advice would you give your best friend or so who comes up with an idea of doing something chocolate-related, for example? Let’s assume he’s a big chocolate fan and he wants to start some kind of online business around that. What type of step by step guide would you tell him so he can go on and start his chocolate business?

Neil: So one, is to focus on the product – make sure you have better chocolate than everyone else.

Two, I’ll go into like Instagram and Facebook, find all the cooking, mom, family-oriented pages, and I’ll pay them to post about the chocolate or give them free chocolate in exchange for posting.

That’s it. I would not do anymore, that would create enough buzz.

Martin: Okay, and how would you balance?… For example, what I’m hearing from Backlinko or so, they say write less blog posts but really make them super deep, like using the skyscraper technique and looking for lots of backlinks to one of those posts and focus on that. So don’t write millions of blog posts but focus on a little number of blog posts and make them right. What is your perspective on that?

Neil: It is a good approach. The problem is that the most people can’t do what he’s doing, they cannot do the quality, they don’t know how to do that. And for that reason I would say “Go for quantity”.

Martin: And what do you think keeps people from starting their own blog?

Neil: The time, the effort, it’s a lot of work.

Martin: Can you give some kind of insights on Nutrition Secrets? How much time did you spend in the beginning on starting this kind of blog, writing content, acquiring backlinks and so on?

Neil: Yes, the guy who runs it (because I’m not a nutritionist) he was spending pretty much like 5-6 hours a day doing this stuff, it’s a lot of work. Writing content, building links, that is all that he was doing for many months.

Martin: Okay, and when I’m looking at some kind of smaller blogs who were really well monetized, something like SmartPassiveIncome or so, what type of advice can you give to people who are running a blog with like you said fifty thousand to one hundred thousand visitors or so who want to increase their revenue per mille significantly? So, like, from 2-3$ RPM to maybe 20-30$?

Neil: Create a sales funnel.

Martin: Okay, how do they do that?

Neil: There’s no specific way but to map out the user buying flows, figure out what the journey someone would take before they buy and try to walk them through that journey. And make sure you have different options for when they don’t do this, where else do I send them, right?

Martin: How does this apply to NeilPatel.com? The sales funnel?

Neil: Well, the sales funnel, when someone opts in with their email, we send them through a lot of different journeys to get them to buy products and services from us. And if they don’t buy, that’s okay, we educate them more, we build more relationships before we pitch them again.

Martin: And what types of email CRM solution are you using and why?

Neil: We use Infusionsoft and Maropost. Infusionsoft is good for the sales funnel and mapping it out and Maropost has higher deliverability.

Martin: Okay, have you heard of ConvertKit? And what are your thoughts on that?

Neil: I’ve heard of it, I haven’t used it.

Martin: Okay, cool. So, any more tips that you can provide who’s really thinking about starting his next blog and online business?

Neil: Yes, if you’re trying to start your next blog or online business, you have to be consistent. You’re not going to get results right away but if you hit it hard for 6-7 months straight, you’ll do pretty well.

Martin: Okay, cool. Thank you so much for your time, Neil.

Neil: Alright, take care.


Thanks so much for joining our 15th podcast episode!

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Special thanks to Neil for joining me this week. Until next time!

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