GE 216: HubSpot’s Global Head of Growth & SEO Explains Why Backlinks Are the Most Effective Factor for Ranking (podcast) With Matthew Barby

Matthew Barby - HubSpot

Hey everyone! Today’s episode is with Matthew Barby, Global Head of Growth and SEO at HubSpot, which is an inbound marking and sales platform.

Tune in to hear Matthew share the various SEO strategies he has employed in and outside of HubSpot (plus his most successful campaign to date), how you can write for top publications, and the importance of knowing the fundamentals of link architecture and Google algorithms so you can solve your own SEO problems, not just employ the tactics.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: HubSpot’s Global Head of Growth & SEO Explains Why Backlinks Are the Most Effective Factor for Ranking

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:50 – Please leave a review and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast
  • 01:51 – Matthew was heading a marketing firm in the UK before joining HubSpot at the Dublin office
  • 02:18 – He was primarily focused on user acquisition with an emphasis on free users
  • 03:02 – Rampant experimentation using different frameworks and prioritization models at HubSpot
    • 03:32 – Use of Frankenstein framework and PIE framework, similar to what is used at GrowthHackers
  • 03:55 – Primary considerations at HubSpot while zeroing in on experimentation
    • 04:01 – Ability to replicate and scale up
    • 04:05 – Resources needed to execute the experiment
    • 04:07 – Potential reward
  • 04:29 – Matthew’s most successful campaign at HubSpot
    • 04:58 – HubSpot is a huge B2B outfit publishing 250-300 blog posts every month
    • 05:25 – HubSpot had more than 3,000 lead magnets which included e-books and templates
    • 05:45 – Google was not crawling HubSpot’s marketing library properly
    • 06:28 – Redeveloping the marketing library took just one week and resulted in additional traffic of about 600,000
    • 07:10 – Investing in tools like Botify led to a proper log file analysis
  • 08:10 – Every single experiment at HubSpot is carried out with the sole purpose of driving more free users to their products
  • 10:39 – A simple and effective variation of ICE model and PIE model
    • 11:06 – The experiment should have high potential to outweigh the downsides
    • 11:48 – Assign an aggregate score and stack the scores from high to low
  • 12:41 – HubSpot is one of the few SaaS businesses driving traffic in millions
  • 13:10 – HubSpot is planning to be more laser focused with content; they want to concentrate their focus on “top of the funnel” content rather than wider-awareness content
  • 16:01 – 90% of content is generated internally within the ecosystem of the content team, this includes writers, videographers, the podcast team and designers
  • 17:32 – Reposting to Medium is a great way to drive traffic back to your website
    • 19:58 – Posting content is easy and just a matter of adding a URL
    • 20:15 – Better to re-edit a piece and position it differently while posting to Medium
    • 21:02 – It’s not advisable to repost content to LinkedIn for driving organic search traffic
  • 22:13 – How do you write for top publications?
    • 22:50 – Different ways of getting into different tiers of publications
    • 24:11 – The strength is in the relevance of the pitch and being able to prove your stance
    • 25:01 – Do not try to reinvent the wheel
  • 27:03 – Tips and tricks to get on the BuzzFeed front page
    • 27:03 – Crawling through, scraping data and analyzing the same enabled Matthew to come up with some common themes for Buzzfeed
    • 27:58 – Social posts definitely help
    • 29:54 – Able to generate 100,000 visitors to the homepage in 3 days via BuzzFeed
  • 30:32 – Matthew’s SEO campaign for BuildFire
    • 30:52 – Needed to build site authority and land some big links
    • 31:28 – Being featured in Business News Daily really helped
    • 32:10 – Matthew piggybacked on this initial success and built authority in this space
    • 32:48 – Generated a million visits in 9 months
  • 33:16 – Contributors to successful link building
    • 33:33 – Backlinks is the most effective SEO tool
    • 33:47 – Anchor text is still relevant
    • 34:32 – Stop focusing on tactics
    • 35:55 – Understand the fundamentals of link architecture and how the Google algorithm works
  • 36:35 – Content flipping is creating “top of the funnel” content and redirecting the content that is difficult to get links to
  • 38:31 – What’s one must-read book do you recommend?The Hard Thing about Hard Things and Rise of the Robots
  • 39:51 – How do you stay on the top of marketing?
    • 40:00 – Hire talented people
    • 40:34 – Meet up with industry experts to discuss ideas and strategies
  • 41:30 – Connect with Matthew on his blog, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook

3 Key Points:

  1. Experimentation should be carried out with these factors in mind: replication, scale, resources employed and potential reward.
  2. HubSpot is planning on being laser-focused on the content that is considered “top of the funnel”.
  3. Understanding the fundamentals of link building and Google algorithms will prove more successful than just employing the tactics.

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