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Deep Dive #19 Nat Eliason on Building Life Changing Blogs, Optimising SEO and Developing a Systems Mindset

Nat Eliason is a blogger, entrepreneur and founder of the marketing agency Growth Machine.

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

Nat Eliason is a blogger, entrepreneur and founder of the marketing agency Growth Machine. Besides running his marketing agency, his popular blog includes articles on a range of topics including psychology, entrepreneurship, marketing, philosophy, health and finance. We discuss how he managed to grow his audience and business from his blog, the real value of SEO and why travel isn’t always as rewarding as people hope it would be.

Here are some of the highlights from our discussion:

The biggest thing that matters most for SEO is writing very good articles over a long time period on subjects that people are looking for. It’s also very bimodal – some articles get tonnes and tonnes of views and others just don’t take off at all.

SEO traffic is one of the best ways to monetise your traffic but it’s not the best way to build an audience. Whilst it can be advantageous if you have a way of turning it into product revenue but if you are just starting out, you want to optimise around things that are going to build an audience, such as consistent quality output over a long period of time.

Start by writing the article and then layer the SEO on top afterwards. You shouldn’t go looking for keywords and then write an article based on what you find – that’s not a sustainable model for consistent output. You need to write about the things you are interested in and then apply the SEO afterwards.

There are simple hacks to improve SEO performance without keyword tools. Start by browsing similar articles to the one you want to write on the first couple of pages of Google to look for the sort of information to include. If a section is showing up in all of the articles, then that’s a good sign that Google wants you to include that as well. But, of these sections that overlap between each article, you should include them but to rank above those articles you also need to add something extra. In essence, you want to cover their ground and go beyond it.

Ad sense can affect website aesthetic and encourage you to optimise for click-bait headlines. This will invariably lower the quality of your posts and distracts you from the core message of your articles.

Hiring a team is the only way that you can scale anything. Delegation is important so that everybody is focussed on aspects of the business that they are most suited to – only through this process can any system be effectively optimised.

"If you can build a life that you can enjoy every day you don't pine for the joy of travelling. The need for maximum freedom and maximum travel isn’t a good way to be happy. It's alluring for people who want to maximise their optionality and don't want to commit to anything but I'd rather give up a few things and be happy"

Whether your blog is single or multi topic depends on your goal. If your goal is to sell a product then single topic is better. If your goal is to build an audience, then multi-topic is more optimal because people become interested in you rather than just being interested in the topic of the post.

Adopting a systems mindset is essential for leading a productive and successful life. You only grow your business by incorporating people and technology and you only really know how to do that properly if you have developed that systems mentality.

Deep Dive

Ali Abdaal

Junior doctor, YouTuber, web designer, aspiring musician. Trying out this blogging thing.