Mastering Modern SEO: In-Depth Interview with Nathan Gotch

Last updated: May 22, 2023

The video by Jaume Ros is an in-depth interview with Nathan Gotch about his journey into SEO and how he started his career in the field.

The video is an in-depth interview with Nathan Gotch, an SEO expert based in St. Louis.

Gotch shares his story of how he got into SEO, starting with trying various methods to make money online before stumbling upon a course that introduced him to the concept of blogging.

He started a blog about baseball pitching and applied what he learned about SEO to get organic traffic and make his first affiliate commission.

The blog eventually grew and attracted buyers in the same vertical. Gotch also shares his insights on modern SEO strategies and tactics.

  • Nathan Gotch is based in St Louis and got into SEO while in college.
  • He learned about SEO while trying to get more traffic to his blog and made his first affiliate commission in 2012.
  • Gray and black hat SEO were more common when Nathan started out, but he now focuses on white hat SEO.
  • Advice for SEO beginners includes focusing on fundamentals, being patient and persistent, and staying up to date with industry news.
  • Nathan creates content for YouTube, his blog, and the Academy, and spends most of his time on content creation.
  • His SEO strategy includes focusing on content and user experience, keyword research and targeting, on-page optimization, and link building through outreach and guest posting.
  • Nathan emphasizes the importance of creating impactful content that drives leads and maintaining good communication with clients.
  • He keeps his agency lean and small to maintain a personal touch and good communication with clients, and believes that good soft skills are important in account managers.
  • Retention makes a huge difference in client work.

Mastering Modern SEO: In-Depth Interview with Nathan Gotch - YouTube

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Introduction

  • Nathan Gotch is based in St Louis.
  • He got into SEO while in college.
  • He tried various methods to make money online.
  • He stumbled upon a course called Web Colleagues.
  • He learned about blogging and started a blog about baseball pitching.
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Learning SEO

  • Nathan learned about SEO while trying to get more traffic to his blog.
  • He applied what he learned to his blog and started getting organic traffic.
  • He made his first affiliate commission in the winter of 2012.
  • He immediately decided to pursue SEO as a career.
  • He started to grow his blog and eventually sold it to others in the same vertical.
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Gray and Black Hat SEO

  • Gray and black hat SEO were more common when Nathan started out.
  • He learned about these methods in the Web Colleagues course.
  • He used some of these methods on his blog but eventually stopped.
  • He now focuses on white hat SEO.
  • He believes that white hat SEO is more sustainable in the long run.
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Mastering Modern SEO: In-Depth Interview with Nathan Gotch - YouTube

Advice for SEO Beginners

  • Focus on learning the fundamentals of SEO.
  • Don't get distracted by the latest trends or tactics.
  • Be patient and persistent in your efforts.
  • Build relationships with other SEO professionals.
  • Stay up to date with industry news and updates.
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Discovering SEO

  • Started creating multiple sites after discovering SEO
  • Created sites under counter ice maker reviews and Bowflex reviews
  • Realized that you can't use a brand's name in your domain in the affiliate space
  • Was more on the gray hat side with PBNs and public blog networks
  • Always focused on content and invested a lot of time in it
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Current Daily Schedule

  • Needs to be scheduled down to every single minute of the day
  • Most of the time is spent on content creation
  • Creating YouTube content, blog content, and content for the Academy
  • Coaching sessions twice a week for the Academy
  • Other 20% of time is spent on operations and making sure clients are happy
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Content Creation

  • Takes 20 to 25 hours to create one blog post
  • Writing all blog content by design
  • Could scale content creation, but prefers to keep it personal
  • Always focused on creating high-quality content
  • Content is the foundation of SEO
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SEO Strategy

  • Focus on content and user experience
  • Keyword research and targeting
  • On-page optimization
  • Link building through outreach and guest posting
  • Constantly testing and adapting strategies
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Philosophy on Content Creation

  • Believes that AI cannot replicate the nuance he brings to a piece of content.
  • Focuses on creating impactful content that drives leads, not just ranking.
  • Wants people to read his content and consider working with him.
  • Believes in different philosophies of scaling content and getting organic traffic.
  • Emphasizes the importance of creating content that has an impact.
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Involvement in the Agency

  • Directly contacts clients and filters out work to his team.
  • Keeps the agency lean and small to maintain a personal touch.
  • Creates systems to be able to do the work.
  • Spends most of his time directing campaigns and creating systems.
  • Teaches a weekly communication cadence to members of The Academy.
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Communication with Clients

  • Has a weekly communication cadence with clients.
  • Sends a little update every Friday about what they did and what they're working on.
  • Used to not communicate with clients at all, but realized it's about the experience and relationship.
  • Does a big monthly report and a Zoom call to go over everything.
  • Believes that the time investment in the call will get him another three to six months of retainers.
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Importance of Soft Skills

  • Believes that account managers are difficult to find.
  • Emphasizes the importance of good soft skills in communicating with clients.
  • Believes that having someone who has good soft skills and expertise is the perfect combination.
  • Keeps the agency lean and small to maintain a personal touch and good communication with clients.
  • Believes that retention makes a huge difference in client work.
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Case Studies

  • A legal business with 3,500 pages and no traffic came to the agency for a relaunch.
  • The agency used Screaming Frog to integrate all APIs and run a crawl to identify the worst-performing pages.
  • The agency deleted 90% of the content and rebuilt the content strategy, resulting in doubled traffic within six months.
  • The agency acquired links and did other things to continue growing the traffic.
  • A local business in Massachusetts had worked with a big SEO company for three years and didn't even rank in their core location.
  • The agency identified that all of their service pages were not even targeting a location.
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Website Cleanup

  • The agency loves cleaning up websites because there's so much junk on a website.
  • The agency rarely has a client that has everything squared away.
  • The agency has done this so many times on websites.
  • The agency identifies the junk on sites that needs to be cut.
  • The agency deletes the content and rebuilds the content strategy.
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Rebuilding Service Pages for Local SEO

  • City name needs to be on the page to rank for local SEO.
  • Rebuilt service pages to target core location.
  • Rebuilt URL structure to include location in service page.
  • Hit number one for almost all keywords within three weeks.
  • Targeting multiple locations can create awkward situations.
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Creating Unique Content for Secondary Locations

  • Pick one location and focus on it as a secondary location.
  • Build out pages with unique content for secondary location.
  • Invest in content on those pages and publish them as a cluster.
  • Every page must have 100% unique content relative to any other page on the site.
  • Internal linking and cross-linking clusters helps with relevance.
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Old vs New Nathan: Gray Hat to Content-Driven SEO

  • Old Nathan (2012-2015) was focused on link building and gray hat tactics.
  • Links were the main focus for ranking at that time.
  • Tested ranking with dummy sites and PBN links.
  • Had hundreds of sites and complicated setups for PBNs.
  • New Nathan (post-2015) is focused on content-driven SEO.
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Conclusion

  • Old Nathan focused on link building and gray hat tactics, while new Nathan is focused on content-driven SEO.
  • Rebuilding service pages and creating unique content for secondary locations are effective local SEO strategies.
  • Internal linking and cross-linking clusters help with relevance.
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Experience with Artificial Link Building

  • Used to link to multiple clients from the same websites, creating a simple footprint to reverse engineer.
  • All clients received manual actions, causing panic and fear of losing business.
  • Cleaned up all gray hat links and resubmitted reconsideration request to Google.
  • All manual actions were removed and traffic recovered, without losing a single client.
  • Changed philosophy to focus on content as the lead domino in SEO, with links as fuel on the fire.
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Content Strategy and Topical Authority Clusters

  • Believes in dominating a topic or keyword.
  • Used to build monstrosity pieces of content, but Google got better at understanding intent.
  • Now focuses on splintering off content and building topical authority.
  • Looks at keywords ranking from position 50 and beyond to find mismatches and build dedicated assets.
  • Approaches content strategy by building supporting assets around the main one.
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Content Strategy

  • Clustering opportunities for keywords
  • 50 to 100 keywords are the best for clustering
  • Long content assets don't work anymore
  • Google wants to deliver the most relevant results
  • Getting granular and hyper-focused is the way to do it
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Link Building

  • Niche edits and guest posts are the two link types for clients
  • Merger or acquisition opportunities for clients
  • Acquiring expired domains or smaller blogs with a perfect link profile
  • Strategy based on where the links are going on that domain
  • Game of relevance and the mistake is inheriting all these links and anchor text
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Biggest Mistakes in SEO

  • Wrong philosophy
  • Every site has mistakes
  • Content is not optimized for users
  • Not focusing on the right metrics
  • Not keeping up with the latest trends and updates
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AI and SEO

  • AI is not going to replace SEO
  • AI is going to make SEO more efficient
  • AI is going to help with keyword research and content creation
  • AI is going to help with link building and outreach
  • AI is going to help with data analysis and reporting
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The Problem with AI Content and Mass Production-Based Approach

  • Creating a lot of content is not a good idea.
  • Panda destroyed sites with thin content and mass production-based approach.
  • Quality is more important than quantity.
  • Ranking with AI content works, but it's a short-term solution.
  • Building the authority of the site is crucial.
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How to Produce Quality Content

  • Understand how the intent is being satisfied.
  • Look at the search results and find an angle that no one else has done.
  • Focus on building authority and preventing volatility.
  • Think about the mode around the content.
  • Pick an angle that is difficult to replicate.
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An Example of Creating Quality Content

  • Targeting the keyword "best keyword research services."
  • Found that nine out of ten results were businesses selling keyword research services.
  • Created something very different than what was ranking.
  • Purchased every single keyword research service and ranked them based on experience.
  • Picked an angle that no one else had done and was difficult to replicate.
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The Importance of Authority in SEO

  • Authority is the only thing that prevents volatility during algorithm changes.
  • New sites can do well temporarily, but authority is crucial for long-term success.
  • Sites like Huffington Post and Forbes have incredible authority and don't move during updates.
  • SEMrush and Ahrefs also have incredible authority and don't move during updates.
  • Building authority takes time and effort, but it's worth it for long-term success.
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SEO Angle Differentiation

  • Importance of finding a unique angle in SEO to differentiate from competitors.
  • Being the first mover on a particular angle can make a huge difference in search results.
  • Spending time thinking about the angle that can be taken to differentiate.
  • Not going after keywords where there is no angle to take.
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Local SEO Ranking Factors

  • Physical location is crucial for ranking in the local pack.
  • Reviews have the biggest impact on local pack rankings.
  • Consistent NAPW (Name, Address, Phone, Website) information is important.
  • Optimizing Google Business profile and populating it with visuals and posts is a good idea.
  • Links and authority of the site are important for organic rankings outside of local packs.
  • Creating content with geolocation and service relevance is crucial for local SEO.
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Importance of Reviews in Local SEO

  • Reviews are the biggest factor in local pack rankings.
  • Citations have no value if anyone can build them easily.
  • Getting reviews should be the focus of any local SEO campaign.
  • Working with clients to get reviews can be challenging.
  • Location reviews are crucial for local SEO success.
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Geolocation and Service Relevance in Local SEO

  • Creating content with geolocation and service relevance is crucial for local SEO.
  • Targeting national keywords for a business with local intent is not effective.
  • Looking for geolocation and service relevance in content creation is important.
  • Attaching the location to keyword ideas can make them more relevant to local SEO.
  • 50% of people get the topic relevance, but local relevance is also important.
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SEO Tools

  • The speaker uses both Ahrefs and SEMrush for SEO tools.
  • He uses both because one of them is often broken.
  • There are downsides to both tools.
  • For link analysis and keyword research, Ahrefs and SEMrush are the two best SEO tools.
  • The speaker also uses Screaming Frog and Surfer for SEO.
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Starting a YouTube Channel

  • The speaker started his YouTube channel in 2015 because video was predicted to be the next big thing in content consumption.
  • He found it difficult to do video because he is introverted and private.
  • He had a bad experience with video when a videographer came to his apartment to film him for a Yelp partner program.
  • He started with baby steps, doing over-the-shoulder videos instead of being on camera.
  • He eventually got over his fear of video and started doing YouTube videos.
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YouTube SEO

  • The speaker was on the SEMrush YouTube channel to talk about YouTube SEO.
  • He started his YouTube channel to build an audience and get leads for his academy.
  • He recommends using keyword research to optimize YouTube videos.
  • He also recommends using tags, descriptions, and titles to optimize videos.
  • He suggests using YouTube analytics to track video performance and make improvements.
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The Academy

  • The speaker started his academy in 2016 with a written course because he was afraid of video.
  • He only sold seven students into the course and had several refunds.
  • He realized he needed to do video and started doing over-the-shoulder videos instead of being on camera.
  • He eventually got over his fear of video and started doing YouTube videos.
  • The academy now has a video course and has been successful.
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Overcoming Fear of Video

  • Nathan initially recorded videos with poor audio quality and low confidence.
  • He eventually re-recorded the videos with better audio quality.
  • His first YouTube video was a recording from the old Academy.
  • He eventually posted his first video about the fastest way to make money online through client SEO.
  • Nathan overcame his fear of video by recording more videos and focusing on adding value.
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Process for Creating YouTube Videos

  • Nathan thinks about the angle he can take with a particular topic.
  • He tries not to use the same topics or keywords too often.
  • 80% of his content is based on a keyword.
  • 20% of his content is news jacking.
  • Nathan looks at what's ranking and what most people have done before deciding on his approach.
  • He writes a script for 80% of his videos.
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Keyword Research and Content Creation

  • Nathan uses Ahrefs for keyword research.
  • He looks for keywords with high search volume and low competition.
  • He tries to create content that is different from what's already out there.
  • Nathan focuses on adding value and providing actionable advice in his videos.
  • He believes that creating great content is the most important factor in SEO success.
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Advice for Aspiring SEOs

  • Nathan recommends focusing on one area of SEO and becoming an expert in that area.
  • He suggests learning from reputable sources and testing everything yourself.
  • Nathan emphasizes the importance of networking and building relationships in the industry.
  • He believes that SEO is a long-term game and that patience and persistence are key.
  • Nathan encourages aspiring SEOs to take action and start implementing what they learn.
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Challenges of Creating YouTube Content

  • It can be difficult to come up with new ideas for content.
  • Repeating yourself is necessary, but can be challenging.
  • People may not have seen previous content, so repeating information can be helpful.
  • Unique ways to inject content can include leveraging existing technology or finding different formats.
  • Constructive criticism is common, but it's important to focus on the majority of positive feedback.
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Investing in YouTube Shorts

  • Investing in YouTube Shorts is recommended.
  • It can be difficult to create Shorts for SEO topics because they are so deep.
  • Shorts can be useful for news jacking or quick updates.
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Importance of Building Relationships in SEO

  • Building relationships is important in SEO.
  • Networking can lead to opportunities and collaborations.
  • Helping others can lead to reciprocal help in the future.
  • Being genuine and authentic is important in building relationships.
  • Building relationships can also lead to learning opportunities and staying up-to-date with industry changes.
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Advice for Those Starting in SEO

  • Focus on learning the fundamentals of SEO.
  • Practice and experimentation are important for growth.
  • Networking and building relationships can lead to opportunities.
  • Staying up-to-date with industry changes is crucial.
  • Be patient and persistent in your efforts.
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Building a Keyword Database

  • For a new website, the first step is to build a keyword database.
  • Look at competitors in the industry and build the keyword database based on their keywords.
  • Filter through the keywords based on keyword difficulty and search volume.
  • Categorize the keywords based on intent and prioritize those with transactional or investigative intent.
  • Informational keywords at the top of the funnel should support the bottom of the funnel keywords.
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Prioritizing Quality over Quantity

  • Focus on quality over quantity when it comes to publishing content.
  • There are different ways to approach SEO, but for Nathan Gotch, quality is the priority.
  • It's important to focus on creating better pages and driving links to them.
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Scraping Keywords for Existing Sites

  • For existing sites, scrape the keywords they are already ranking for to build the keyword database.
  • Categorize the keywords based on where they are ranking and prioritize the low-hanging fruits.
  • Going from position two to one can result in a 100% increase in clicks.
  • Filter through the keywords based on keyword difficulty and search volume.
  • Categorize the keywords based on intent and prioritize those with transactional or investigative intent.
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Assigning an IRT Score

  • Assign an IRT (Intent Relevance and Trend) score to each keyword based on its intent.
  • Transactional or investigative intent keywords are worth more than informational keywords.
  • Informational keywords at the top of the funnel should support the bottom of the funnel keywords.
  • Relevance metric is largely dependent on the type of business.
  • Assign a score of three to keywords that are most relevant to the core offer.
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Keyword Research

  • Keyword relevance to core offer is important.
  • Trend analysis can be used to prioritize keywords.
  • Domain strength of competitors for a keyword should be considered.
  • Weaknesses of competitors should be identified.
  • Investing in worthless keywords is not a good idea.
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Qualitative Analysis of Competitors

  • Open top 10 competitors and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Replicate what competitors are doing well.
  • Identify areas where you can do better than competitors.
  • Target keywords that have a direct link to what you are selling.
  • Target keywords that are likely to produce conversions.
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Chat GBT and AI Future of SEO

  • Chat GBT is a powerful tool for SEO.
  • It has been impactful in Nathan's SEO career.
  • Google is constantly evolving and changing.
  • There is a lot to unpack when it comes to the future of SEO.
  • Chat GBT is a tool that can help SEO professionals stay ahead of the curve.
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Algorithm Updates and GPT Launch

  • The exact match domain update hit the speaker's website hard.
  • There have been various core updates since then, but the speaker doesn't pay attention to algorithm updates anymore.
  • If the website gets hit, it means something went wrong, but it's not always the speaker's fault.
  • The speaker was excited and scared when GPT launched, but it has eliminated low skill activities and leveled the playing field for non-native English speakers.
  • However, there's a big difference between creating words and creating nuanced, high-quality content.
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Creativity and Quality in Content Creation

  • Creating words is only the beginning of the content creation process.
  • The speaker adds visuals and other elements to the content to make it unique and high-quality.
  • GPT can't replicate the personal element of content creation, such as the speaker's love for basketball.
  • The way to beat GPT is through uniqueness, creativity, and a focus on quality over quantity.
  • Quality is always the most important factor in content creation.
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GPT's Best Function: Coding

  • GPT's best function is coding, which is unbelievable and can do basic coding functions.
  • Elite developers who build massive websites and architectures are not in trouble.
  • GPT is not a threat to SEO, but a tool that can be leveraged to do the job faster and better.
  • Some keywords may get eradicated, but it's not a big concern.
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Financial Implications of AI and SEO

  • Featured snippets have been stealing people's traffic for a long time already.
  • Google makes money from having search results, not by answering people's questions.
  • There are financial implications of AI and SEO.
  • Open AI was a non-profit and switched to not being a non-profit anymore.
  • It's important to be balanced in what's happening with AI and SEO.
  • People can find Nathan Gotch on gotchseo.com, NathanGotch.com, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Watch the video on YouTube:
Mastering Modern SEO: In-Depth Interview with Nathan Gotch - YouTube

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