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March 19, 2020

Intellectual Capital vs Financial Capital by Ashley Pearce

Listen to how Ashley Pearce discusses Intellectual Capital vs. Financial Capital and how he approached the eCommerce platforms.

What have you been up to Ashley, since you were last on the Podcast?

On eCommerce side:

  • Set sights on 7 figures, on track for that.
  • Existing SKUs have grown in revenue a little
  • But revenue is on track for 40-50% growth, mostly fuelled by launching new SKUs and staying in stock on existing SKUs.

Organic Traffic for eCommerce via Future State Media – an agency offering 

  • Multiple businesses as well eCommerce side
  • Like to “implement at the speed of thought”: Team has been experimenting and testing.
  • Lots of organic traffic strategies  – grew Google traffic to own eCommerce site by 1600%

Google Traffic to Ashley’s own eCommerce site

  • In Jan 2019 about 500 visitors per month from Google
  • By the end of 2019, in excess of 8000 a month
  • This was after a Google update in November – came back better than before in Jan

Google strategies

  • Invested in content
  • Focus on long-tail keywords
  • Site structure
  • Deep research of competition
  • Influencer marketing – more for Getting “good SEO juice” than for traffic

Free SEO guide

What brought you to Google?

  • Started with Amazon advertising – and ended up pretty much breaking even.
  • You don’t have the possibility of remarketing as an Amazon seller, either.
  • The increasing cost of Amazon advertising

Ashley looked at adjacent industries to eCommerce for high ROI traffic. 

High ROI is important – it’s not so much just low cost when considering Intellectual Capital vs Financial Capital.

Amazon Affiliates make a meagre commission – maybe 5% – so don’t have a lot of money to play with and they went after Google SEO. But a lot of them have profitable businesses. So they have had to get very effective at Google SEO.

Insight into action

This insight pushed Ashley over to external traffic especially Google SEO.

But Ashley’s eCommerce company had the possibility of getting a higher margin, as a private Label business, than the Amazon affiliates had been getting.

Ashley invested in 2 team members to explore that strategy as he explored Intellectual Capital vs Financial Capital.

Cost of Google SEO

  • Content is the tip of the iceberg.  So the cost is not just hiring a writer.
  • Keyword research is key – including related keywords.
  • There must be a predetermined keyword structure in place before you write the article.
  • Then you need to do internal linking and site structure work afterward.

For 2019 the cost of the overall project was around $8,000-10,000 to establish the strategy. That involves Research and Development.

If they had spent $8-10K in ads, they would have had more immediate feedback; but a lot less ROI.

Free SEO guide

Future value

This $10K investment should yield over 150,000 site visitors this year from that content even in 2021 – budget based on a 3-year lifespan – have some good benchmarks. But some could be over 5 years.

So ROI is good over the long term.

How long does it take the content to rank in Google?

This comes back to the “Google sandbox”. Your website is put in that when you first launch. Google is still assessing whether you give Google the right signals in that period, as  Amazon does with your product listing.

Google will not give you a great ranking for 6-12 months.

However after that, FSM has requested indexing and within a day, found content showing in SERPs (Search results).

And after a month, ranking much higher. So once you’re out of the sandbox, you can rank articles quite swiftly.

Free SEO guide

How to choose long-tail keywords

Some people have their own Woocommerce or Shopify stores and are looking for alternatives to paid advertising.

2 approaches to eCommerce SEO

Approach 1: “How do I rank my chess set at the top of Google?”

That’s highly competitive and you’ll have to constantly stay ahead of the competition with expensive SEO.

That’s very different from Ashley’s business model.

Approach 2: The “Infinite keywords list”

  • Create an infinite list of keywords  that we will continuously build content around
  • Even if an article generates 100 visitors a month, that is possibly worth having.
  • If you get this right, you’ll serve searchers and search queries, you won’t have to do the aggressive/competitive stuff.

Amazon vs. Google SEO -it’s all about backlinks

  • Giving away products to just keep up with the competition on Amazon is common.
  • On Google, the way to get and stay ahead is generating backlinks.
  • Particularly to your particular page
    • With targeted links from the other sites,
    • Preferably containing the keywords
    • Preferably from high authority sites

Make it look organic

  • Now you need to create complex systems that make it look natural.
  • Essentially you try to make want you’re doing look organic/natural.
  • Chasing backlinks is something you’ll be very busy doing and it’s very expensive.
  • You don’t need as many high-cost tactics to rank multiple pages if you’re after longer-tail keywords.

Site Content structure

  • If you’re producing content that people actually want,  you get quite a lot of authority in your domain – a metric by which Google measures your site.
  • You may end up with a sprawl of keywords that mean that you don’t leverage your site authority.
  • Starting out of the blocks, you need to get a good site structure from the start as you have less authority.

Deleting content – caution

  • You need to be very strategic about this.
  • If it has aged on the Google index – it has value.
  • There are multiple ways to get that value but deletion is going to eliminate all of those.

Keyword clusters

If you can imagine what you’re trying to do with your content, you’re trying to get a few pages in particular.

How to do this: point lots of internal links from related content to that central page.

Free SEO guide

Is this just for Shopify/Woocommerce site owners?

No – it’s not just for those.

If you own the traffic, you can make a decision as to what to do with that.

With Shopify, you might put them through your shopping cart.

However there are sites selling Millions of page views from Google, and they have no checkout on the site. They just redirect the traffic as Amazon affiliates.  This is also well-established consumer behavior so it’s a proven path for sales.

Ashley’s e-commerce company  Media does both!

  1. Woocommerce store with a checkout
  2. Blog sprinkled with affiliate offers related to the niche

When they put ads in front of people, they get the click through to Amazon.

But on-site, it’s very brand-led and feels like an online store.

What is the value of traffic vs the cost of the traffic?

There are multiple conversion mechanisms.  Once you have the traffic you can do what you want with it when considering Intellectual Capital vs Financial Capital.

For example

They had an ad that was 50% off, now BOGOF (Buy One, Get One Free)

They monetized the email list with affiliate offers of other products because not their own products were not repeated products.

In the USA, 500 units/month come via Advertising.

Through BOGOF – that’s equivalent of selling those at 40% ACoS PPC. Expensive but not ridiculous. 

Free SEO guide

Future State Media services – External traffic in general for eCommerce Sellers

Organic SEO

  • Google SEO
  • Pinterest SEO


  • Google
  • FaceBook
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram

Specific services

Google SEO

  • Plug system into an existing site
  • Keyword research
  • Content creation
  • Site structure
  • Backlinks
  • Set up measurement and systems
  • Check hitting ROI targets

Website build

  • WordPress Integrators
  • Graphic design
  • Blog structure

Website audit

  • Look for low-hanging fruit
  • Sort out the optimizing value created
  • Restructuring content can produce good wins

Pinterest SEO

  • Content and traffic amplification



Get the FREE Guide To SEO For Amazon Sellers & eCommerce Entrepreneurs

Free SEO guide

Watch my full interview with Ashley Pearce

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