Artwork for podcast Search and Social
Dennis Goedegebuure on the Holistic Practice of SEO and Content Marketing
27th April 2015 • Search and Social • Rainmaker.FM
00:00:00 00:38:26

Share Episode


Loren & Dennis discuss content for marketplaces, the power of community & audience, and how that content helps attract links and interaction around ecommerce sites.

In this 38 minute episode Loren and Dennis talk about:

  • Content for communities and content that is user-generated
  • Tapping into your audience from a content and sharing/conversation perspective
  • Building sincere localized content that is not solely SEO driven
  • Producing content that mobilizes communities and loyal groups
  • Guidelines that help users generate content that helps the base site that they are listing products on
  • The challenges and limitations of ecommerce sites and marketplaces
  • Short sighted content and linking by SEOs … for SEO goals only
  • The Content Pyramid system and the importance of producing foundational content
  • Incorporating video, infographics and written content
  • Bundling it all together to make sure that the site is benefiting from an SEO, marketing and branding perspective

Listen to Search and Social below ...

The Show Notes

  • Dennis’s Site: The Next Corner
  • Dennis’s Photo Site: DPictures
  • AirBNB Neighborhood Guides
  • Content Brand Pyramid
  • The Transcript

    Dennis Goedegebuure on the Holistic Practice of SEO and Content Marketing

    Voiceover: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at

    Loren Baker: Hi, this is Loren Baker with Search & Deploy. Today, one of my special guests is Dennis. Dennis, I’m going to try to pronounce your last name, so please forgive me. Dennis Goedegebuure. Okay, I’ll just hand it over to you.

    Dennis Goedegebuure: Goedegebuure.

    Loren Baker: Okay, DennisG, a long-time friend and colleague in the world of SEO and content. Dennis, how about a nice introduction for the listeners?

    Dennis Goedegebuure: Thank you for having me, Loren. It’s a pleasure to be on your show. I’ve listened to the previous ones, and it sounds like an interesting kick-off for the new project that you have here.

    I spent around nine and a half years at eBay, the world s largest marketplace for everything that you can buy and sell. I started in the Netherlands, where I’m from, and then I moved over to the US in 2006. I was the director of global SEO at eBay for a couple years. Then I moved over, with a short intermezzo, to Airbnb, also a two-sided marketplace that is now in the travel, lodging, and house rental space, where I spent around two and a half years running their global SEO program.

    Now I’m at Fanatics. Fanatics is a very large e-commerce retailer of licensed sport merchandise. We power a lot of the large league shops — front-end, back-end, and fulfillment of,, and — and a large number of media sites as well, and team sites.

    Loren Baker: If you look at those three companies, it’s interesting, because you have eBay being auctioning and online sales, Airbnb being the sharing economy of space and monetization of rooms or apartments, and then Fanatics being e-commerce-driven merchandise. It’s seems like the common denominators of all three of those companies is community-driven marketplace.

    Content for Communities and Content That Is User-Generated

    Dennis Goedegebuure: Yeah, B2C, so to speak, or C2C even. EBay, at the end, was a lot of large-scale sellers, and Airbnb is still in the infancy where private persons are renting out their space. It’s very consumer-focused. As well, with Fanatics, where we sell directly to the consumer, everybody that buys something online for sports merchandise, there’s a very big chance that we touch that package.

    Loren Baker: Before we get started discussing content and SEO — I just thought of this question now — I just wanted to dip into a little bit of, what are some of the benefits of working in a marketplace-style scenario? Because I’ve worked in marketplaces that do not have a sense of community before, maybe traditional real estate or online dating properties, where you’re really looking at a group of codes and different profile pages and listing pages, as opposed to working with something that has that base.

    What are some of the advantages that you’ve had working with, I’d say, passionate communities, whether it’s the sellers on eBay, or with Airbnb, or the fan base that you’re working with now with Fanatics?

    Dennis Goedegebuure: I would say that Airbnb and eBay are similar to the point that the actual description of the item for the listing where you’re going to stay in are not in the control of the company but are user-generated content. It’s a massive user-generated content machine, where you get a choice of words or keywords that people pick that you might not have thought about.

    Building Sincere Localized Content That Is Not Solely SEO Driven

    Dennis Goedegebuure: It could be a blessing in disguise, or it could be very, very difficult to optimize for certain keyword terms because some owner of a property might have called it “the great dream escape for your Valentine’s Day,” where it doesn’t say anything in the title about the number of rooms or the amenities or what kind of property it is. Still, you get a lot of the speech that the actual customer might be typing into the search box in the search engine.

    We as SEOs are too keyword-focused, and “I want to have this keyword in there, and I want to make sure that we’re ranking on that keyword.” Sometimes you’re too siloed in your thinking, and you forget how people actually search.

    Guidelines That Help Users Generate Content That Helps the Base Site That They Are Listing Products On

    Loren Baker: That’s really interesting, too, because over the years, we’ve all seen trends in SEO as we’ve gotten away from exact match links or exact match key terms, and more so going towards natural speech patterns, speech modifiers, natural queries. When you’re dealing with community-generated content, you can give them guidelines, so to speak. You can give, “Hey, maybe the best way to describe your place is a certain kind of house. What kind of house is it? or something. It sounds like, by giving the power to the people, so to speak, to communicate what they’re bringing to the table, that may foreshadow changes in search altogether.

    Dennis Goedegebuure: Yeah. You’re talking about a massive scale there. The growth at Airbnb is phenomenal, but eBay was already at a scale where at any time of day, there were a 100 million items listed on the US site. You have 100,000 pages that have content on there that is all user-generated, with some specific unique items in there. You can think about years ago, when we had the grilled cheese sandwich with the Holy Mary on it.

    Loren Baker: I remember that one. Actually, I got a lot of traffic to that on SEJ. Because that was probably what, 2004, 2005? It seemed like it was in the heyday of blogging.

    Dennis Goedegebuure: I think it was earlier.

    Tapping into Your Audience from a Content and Sharing/Conversation Perspective

    Loren Baker: Yeah, that was trending on Google News. I was writing about a story a day about that grilled cheese sandwich because my blog posts would show up in Google News, which was in its infancy at the time as well, and that would drive mad traffic. I would get people commenting on my blog about the grilled cheese sandwich, but I don’t even know if there was the ability to comment on eBay at the time.

    Dennis Goedegebuure: No.

    Loren Baker: They would comment their thoughts on the grilled cheese sandwich on my blog, when I was just basically a conduit passing the Google user through my site onto eBay just to arbitrage that traffic a little bit, so to speak.

    Dennis Goedegebuure: You probably had a link there, right?

    Loren Baker: Oh yeah, but it wasn’t an affiliate link.

    Dennis Goedegebuure: That’s what I mean. Those unique items all drive a lot of links to the platform, which drives a lot of your domain authority. One of my big, black spots in SEO is link building, because I didn’t have to link build for eBay, nor did I have to do it really for Airbnb, because look at all the unique properties on Airbnb where you can stay. Obviously, I would like to get more links because it still works, but I wouldn’t go after the link building strategies. That was also a blessing in disguise because I knew that from a very early stage on that the search engine would go after the link building strategies.

    Yeah, that was about the two marketplaces. It’s a big opportunity for those companies to harness the power of the community to make sure that you educate them. As you grow, all those unique listings are content on your site, which will generate an SEO footprint which can drive a lot of traffic.

    Loren Baker: Absolutely.

    Dennis Goedegebuure: On the Fanatics side, it’s the fanatics that love their sports teams, right?

    Loren Baker: Absolutely.

    Producing Content That Mobilizes Communities and Loyal Groups

    Dennis Goedegebuure: You could see the battles going on Twitter and on Facebook when somebody is beating somebody else’s team, and you’re poking the other fans and saying, “Hey, we’re beating you.” That is passion that goes really deep. I’m trying to tap into that.

    Loren Baker: How do you tap into that passion? I’ve seen some of the stuff you’ve done with the maps and jersey sales per state. Did you do one on the different neighborhoods of Manhattan? It was an NBA jersey one?

    Dennis Goedegebuure: Yes. We did a small video on NBA jersey sales in New York for the All-Star game where we looked at the different jerseys that were being sold in the different boroughs in New York, because the All-Star game was held in New York. You saw changes as different teams did better over the course of the season. You actually saw Stephen Curry coming up as one of the high-sales jerseys in New York, which is interesting.

    Those kinds of things, we re scratching the surface right now. I think we can do even more creative things with content around sales numbers, search numbers, and all those things, because a map of the most sales jersey across the US becomes boring pretty fast if you milk that story for four or five times.

    The Challenges and Limitations of E-commerce Sites and Marketplaces

    Loren Baker: On the user-generated marketplace side of things, you had the challenges and opportunities of directing the flow of links, the natural flow of links you would get to the site — the grilled cheese example, because that product expires. What you’re tapping into right now with the fan base at Fanatics, you have that fan base that is really craving for something to have a discussion around. Anyone that reads comments on ESPN or CBS Sports or anything knows that those folks are very, very passionate about their teams.

    One thing you also touched upon was not needing much of an SEO linking strategy previously. It was harnessing the links that you were obtaining.

    The one thing that I’ve definitely learned and seen over the years — there’s always been a content component to SEO. But ever since Penguin rolled out, the link builders became content marketers.

    Short Sighted Content and Linking by SEOs For SEO Goals Only

    Loren Baker: I still feel that with a lot of the SEO-driven content marketing campaigns that I see out there, there is still that emphasis on the amount of links, the link authority it’ll obtain, obtaining the amount of links over the next number of months or so. In the grand scheme of things, if you’re talking about content marketing, this can be a little bit shortsighted, say, compared to a content campaign that a large brand, like a Cola-Cola or Airbnb, is rolling out over the course of a year. I hear that you’ve been working on some different approaches to that.

    Dennis Goedegebuure: Yeah. Over the years that I did SEO, I had to rely on frameworks to explain it to people who don’t live and breathe SEO on a day-to-day basis. When I was at eBay, we developed the framework that could be used to explain it to all the levels in the organization. I presented to a lot of the engineers, to content people, to PR people, and to the whole executive staff of eBay: the CEO, CFO, and all the big honchos, so to speak. You really have to — I don’t want to say dumb it down — make it consumable for them to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

    Loren Baker: Shapes and acronyms usually come in very well when you’re doing that.

    Dennis Goedegebuure: Yes. My acronym for that frameworks is LUMPS. It stands for links, URLs, meta tags, page content, and site map and site speed. They drive the most important concepts of SEO, which is discovery, how your content is getting discovered, because if you aren’t getting discovered by the crawlers you won’t get indexed, you won’t get ranked, and you won’t get any traffic. Then it’s relevancy: how relevant are you to the query of the users typing in?

    Then, if you have multiple relevant content pieces, like documents so to speak, in the formal terminology, it comes down to the authority of the website. A brand like eBay has already brought a lot of authority to the table. Then again, you still need to tap into new pieces of content to build your authority in different spaces. As an example, I worked very closely with their PR and communications team years ago to establish eBay as one of the e-commerce mobile players in the market space. We had a consistent strategy around content, PR, product announcements, and product refreshes around mobile e-commerce.

    Loren Baker: Positioning eBay to be a leader in mobile e-commerce while it was emerging meant that it was always top-of-mind for whoever was writing about that subject matter. Got you.

    Dennis Goedegebuure: Yeah, exactly. I see SEO as the outcome of a very well-designed product. That means that it’s not only looking pretty, but it actually works from a UX perspective.

    The Content Pyramid System and the Importance of Producing Foundational Content

    Dennis Goedegebuure: Epic content is part of a new framework that I’ve developed over the course the last eight months on top of my LUMPS framework. I saw there was an opportunity for, specifically SEOs, to understand that if you create content, as long as you’re not adding value or changing the behavior of your consumer, it’s actually not valuable content. As content is changing behavior and you can start to have people act on it, it actually becomes content marketing.

    Loren Baker: Got you. Let’s go over this framework a little bit, Dennis. How will we visualize this?

    Dennis Goedegebuure: It’s a pyramid. It’s actually based on a framework that WPP brought into their arsenal of tools years ago called the brand pyramid. The brand pyramid is built on the notion of, if you want to build a brand, you start at the bottom — the base — of your pyramid. You need to lay down a very strong foundation for your brand for people to even do a trial of your product. If you have a new brand, you would need to build that presence in the marketplace for people to notice you and to start trying your products out.

    Loren Baker: You build the strong foundation, which is long lasting, tangible, and people will interact around it. Then where do you go from there?

    Dennis Goedegebuure: As people move up in liking your brand and your products and the affinity for your brand is starting to build in them, they move up to the higher levels of the brand pyramid up to the moment that they’re at the top of the pyramid and they’re totally fanboys of your brand. They’re your ambassadors, and they will tell everybody that they know, and their friends, and their neighbors, and family how awesome your products are, and they don’t even consider using a different brand.

    Loren Baker: Got you.

    Dennis Goedegebuure: One example of such a brand is Apple, for instance. There are so many people who don’t even consider buying a Windows...





    More from YouTube