Bill is an SEO-obsessed content marketing consultant. He’s written for sites like Search Engine Journal, Social Media Examiner and Content Marketing Institute. Fun fact: He plays the ukulele!
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:23] – Bill’s career hasn’t always been online
- [01:34] – He started with freelance writing
- [01:56] – His area of expertise is in content and SEO
- 02:21 – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: SEO is a ‘low-hanging fruit.’ Use Ahrefs to do a competitive keyword research
- [05:10] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: A year ago, Bill and his girlfriend bought an RV to travel the US while living on wheels and working as freelance writers. They traveled to Pennsylvania for a friend’s wedding and the worst happened—Bill and his girlfriend both lost 2 clients that took away 90% of their income overnight. They were suddenly unable to buy food and pay for the RV, so they started living in Bill’s grandparents’ backyard in their RV
- [07:29] – Even in your worst moments, you just have to keep going
- [08:23] – The people who continue to fail are those who stop trying
- [09:07] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Bill took a year off after high school because he was depressed. He was working at Dollar General. One morning Bill was in an aisle stocking the shelves and he started crying uncontrollably – he realized he couldn’t do this in his life anymore. He quit his job and applied for college
- [10:15] – “If you‘re going to live a life, why not go for whatever it is that you want to do?”
- [11:16] – Examine your life. If you’re not feeling happy with your path, reconsider what you’re doing
- [12:38] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I’m super pumped about Google”
- [15:58] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Not much… It was not knowing”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “The reason you’re suffering is because you’re too focused on yourself”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “investing in myself… and having an attitude for gratitude”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Ahrefs and Cognitive SEO
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Tools of Titans – “it’s so filled with golden nuggets that are highly actionable in all areas of life!”
- [18:06] – “Be eternally curious”
- 18:21 – Connect with Bill on his website, Facebook, and Twitter
- 18:45 – Check out Bill’s FREE Consulting Call for the first 30 people to register at BillWidmer.com/fire!
Bill Widmer: JLD, I'm on fire man.
John: Yes, Bill's an SEO obsessed content marketing consultant. He's written for sites like Search Engine Journal, Social Media Examiner, and Content Marketing Institute, oh, and a fun fact, he plays the ukulele. Bill, quick fun fact about me. I've actually wanted to play the ukulele ever since I watched Joe Versus the Volcano. Have you seen that movie?
Bill Widmer: I haven't, I need to check that out.
John: Put it on your to do list. Any ukulele player has to watch that movie. In Fire Nation, any human being has to watch that movie. I have a weird obsession with Joe Versus the Volcano. It's Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, so you know it's going to be good, and Meg Ryan plays like four roles in it, so it's awesome, but Bill, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Bill Widmer: Absolutely, so my career hasn't always been online. I've done lots of different jobs, going place to place. I've only ever stayed at a job for less than a year, and it started at freelance writing, and I slowly worked my way up into content marketing and the SEO was just kind of a natural progression, and I absolutely love what I'm doing. It's just incredible, man, it's incredible.
John: Fire it up brother, can't wait to share the rest of your journey with Fire Nation, but first and foremost, what is your area of expertise today? Of all the things that you do, what do you do best?
Bill Widmer: Content and SEO. I love creating new pieces of content that are just amazing that actually rank on Google, creating the absolute best thing out there that Google says, yeah, this is awesome, let's put this piece at the top.
John: So, besides the obvious like create something awesome and make it of high value, like stuff that we already know, what's something that we don't know about ranking on Google that we probably should as entrepreneurs?
Bill Widmer: SEO is really a low hanging fruit, and that's not something you're going to hear a lot of the time because a lot of these head terms, these main key words that you want to rank for are so competitive, but there's a lot of stuff out there, and a lot of people just aren't optimizing properly and aren't doing it the right way. So, I've got two value bombs for you here, and they both involve a tool called Ahrefs, that's A-H-R-E-F-S.com, and the first one is to do competitive keyword research. So, what you do is you take your main competitor, or just one of your competitors, and if you don't know who they are, just Google the terms that you want to rank for, and find a couple of the people that are ranking higher than you.
Plug them into Ahrefs, there's a search bar there, and then you can actually see all of the organic keywords that that competitor is ranking for, and what you want to do is filter them based on keyword difficulty, and that's just according to Ahrefs, how many back links, so links from other websites, that you need in order to rank for that keyword, and you can filter them by keyword difficulty of less than, say ten, which means you need less than ten back links to be able to rank for this, and then you filter it by volume of at least 200, and then you're instantly going to be seeing tons of keywords that are really, really easy to rank for that you're competitors are already ranking for.
And then you can just make better stuff, add more value there, more images that are more relevant, add data, statistics, that kind of thing, and then No. 2 is for what you're already ranking for. So, instead of filtering and searching for a competitor, you put your own website in there, and then you filter it based on keywords that you're already ranking for in the top 60 to 20 positions, and then that's kind of your low hanging fruit, that if you just better optimize those pages, build a few more back links to those pages, that you'll boost those up into the top five results, and that's where you really start to see an increase in search traffic and clicks.
John: Bill, I am literally going to cut out this piece of audio content, and I'm going to send it to future guests of EO Fire with the headline of, this is how you answer the question of: What are you an expert in, and what's a value bomb you can give in this area of expertise because, I mean, come on Fire Nation, that was pure gold. That was stuff that we don't know as entrepreneurs, but we probably should. Bill, you answered that question magnificently. One more time for the listeners, how do you spell that tool that you were talking about Ahrefs?
Bill Widmer: Yeah, A-H-R-E-F-S.com.
John: Love all of that, and Bill, one would think that you've never had a struggling moment in your life with that little response that you had right there, but we know better. You've had a worst entrepreneurial moment, so take us there and tell us that story.
Bill Widmer: Yes, JLD, you are a part of my story.
John: What, I'm part of your worst moment?
Bill Widmer: You're the defining moment in my worst moment, in a good way.
Bill Widmer: So, let me explain.
Bill Widmer: No, no, in a good way, let me explain. So, it's funny, actually almost a year ago, I was in the very spot that I'm standing today. I'm actually recording this from my grandmother's house in Pennsylvania.
John: Oh, cool.
Bill Widmer: And a year ago, me and my girlfriend Kayla, after I just graduated college, we bought an RV to go after our dream of traveling the US, living in an RV. So, we got the RV, we traveled, we went up to your home town, Maine – your home state I should say in Maine, and it is gorgeous there.
Bill Widmer: But – yes, and after a while of traveling, we came back to Pennsylvania for a friend's wedding, and then that's when the worst entrepreneurial moment happened. JLD, this was one of the most terrible experiences I've ever been through. We had both worked online as writers at the time, and both of us, each lost two clients, each totaling about 90 percent of our income almost overnight. In an instant, we were unable to afford food, we were unable to afford the payment on our RV, we were living in my grandparents' backyard in the RV, and this was in October. It was getting cold, we had to have the heater running. We were freezing. I mean, we could have come inside, but it was just kind of like that was our home, so we didn't want to abandon it.
John: Quick question: How was the Wi-Fi signal out there?
Bill Widmer: It was bad, it was bad.
John: Okay, now I feel bad for you. Keep going.
Bill Widmer: Yes, yeah, so yeah, we were stuck back there, and just it felt like I was worthless, I was completely dependent on my grandparents for the most basic things like food, paying my rent, everything. I just felt like a complete and utter failure, and that’s when, JLD, I stumbled upon your podcast –
John: Yay –
Bill Widmer: – which I listened to every single morning. I went for a walk and listened to your podcast, and I just kept telling myself, this has to get better, there's no way that this is going to end everything that I've worked for years to achieve. So, my key takeaway in this worst moment is really that even at your lowest moments, even when you feel like you're a failure, you just have to keep going. It was at that time where I learned everything that I could from you and your interviewers, and I just put forth everything. I worked for free, I just started doing guest posts. That's how I actually got on Social Media Examiner and Content Marketing Institute, all these other places. I just put everything into that. So, it's just persistence, absolute persistence.
John: Fire Nation, this is exactly why I start these interviews with the worst moment. It's for people like Bill that were having a tough time, but I wanted them to be hearing and listening to successful entrepreneurs having bad, terrible, miserable experiences in their lives because we all go through this. It's this cycle of life of entrepreneurship, and the ones that continue to fail are the ones that simply just give up and quit and stop trying because that win is around the corner.
You just have to keep putting in the effort, the energy, and driving forward, and have that understanding that, hey, yes, Episodes 1 through 1,740 were all about an entrepreneur that started with a struggle and then ended up doing something kind of cool with their lives, and that's what you can be a part of too, Fire Nation, if you write your own story. Now, Bill, you had a lot of great ideas, you've had some ah-hah moments. Before that worst moment, you've had some ah-hah moments. After that worst moment, what's one of the greatest ideas that you've had to date that you want to share with us, with Fire Nation, that you think will be impactful to us as entrepreneurs?
Bill Widmer: It's going to sound like another worst moment, but it's really not. It was back before I even went to college, I had just graduated high school, I was taking a year off. I hated high school, super depressed, and I was working at Dollar General, and this one morning I had to get there like at quarter to five, it was cold, it was snowy, there was like freezing rain going on, and I was sitting in the aisle. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was in the As Seen on TV aisle, and I'm sitting there stocking the shelves, literally sitting on my knees looking at these shelves, and I just start crying uncontrollably out of nowhere, and I'm hiding my face, trying not to make any noise because there's customers going by.
I don't want them to hear me, and I just realized like, I can't do this with my life anymore. This isn't for me; I don't want to take a year off. So, that night I literally went home, I applied to college, and I quit my job, and I said, you know what, this isn't for me. I need to do something more with my life, and I guess the greatest idea that came out of that is that if you're going to live a life, why not go for whatever it is that you think that you want to do. Make an attempt, just put forth your greatest effort, and shoot for what you really want to shoot for because the time's going to pass whether you're doing something amazing or being miserable, so you might as well try your best to do the most amazing thing that you can.
John: Yeah, one quote that I've been sharing a lot recently with Fire Nation, but I do believe that repetition is the key to understanding and real knowledge is how we live our days, Fire Nation, is how we live our lives. So, how are you going to choose to live your day? Are you just going to accept whatever comes your way, or are you going to step up, take action and do something because either way, the days are going to go by, just like Bill shared, but you can control those days and in a sense, you can control your life.
Now, Bill, you kind of gave that little final sentence which was a great takeaway, but just one thing that you want to make sure our listeners get from that great idea that you had?
Bill Widmer: Examine your life, examine what you're doing, and if you're not feeling happy about what you're doing, if you're not feeling like you're on the right path, reconsider. I mean, I never thought I was going to go to college until I at least had that year off. I thought I hated school, but then I reconsidered and I just went for it, and it changed the course of my life.
John: Fire Nation, there's something about just being on the right path that's amazing. Now, does that mean that once you're on the "right path" that you have amazing, happy, exciting days every day of the week? No, absolutely not, you're still going to have tough times, struggle times, you're still going to have worst moments, but you're going to have this kind of like inner confidence and comfort knowing that you're on the right path, and yes, this path is going to have the dark times and the struggles, but it's getting you to where you need to be, and yes, it's going to take some adjustments and some pivots and some iterations, but it's going to get you to where you need to be.
And for the first 32 years my life, I had that uncomfortable inner feeling that I wasn't on the right path, and then it wasn't until I launched Entrepreneur on Fire, which was just a path for me, that I have this feeling now that I'm on the right path, and I still have the tough days, and you're still going to have the tough days, but that knowing you're on the right path makes all the difference in the world, and now for you, Bill, today, what are you most fired up about?
Bill Widmer: Oh, JLD, I am super pumped about Google, and I know that sounds to strange. It even sounds strange to me, it sounds very strange. I never imagined myself as a person who would be analytical and looking at data and how to rank for keywords and all this other stuff, but SEO is just so much fun and it's endlessly fascinating. There's always more to learn, and the potential for it is just incredible on what you can do to grow a business just by growing your organic search results, and also the other thing I'm fired up about, the new Tesla just came out. I'm an Elon Musk fan, super pumped, super pumped.
John: Fire Nation, if you can use the words fun and endlessly fascinating to describe what you're doing for most of your day, you've won at life. So, don't stop until you get to that point; fun, endlessly fascinating. Fire Nation, value bombs are coming your way in the lightening round, so don't you go anywhere. We need to get a quick minute first to thank our sponsors.
Bill, are you ready to rock the lightening rounds?
Bill Widmer: JLD, I am born ready. Let's do it.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Bill Widmer: Not much. I mean, I guess it was just kind of not knowing it was even an option, but once I found it out, nothing was really holding me back.
John: What's the best advice you've ever received?
Bill Widmer: Yeah, so this is something Tony Robbins, one of your past guests has said, and it's, the reason you're suffering is you're too focused on yourself. That's the cause of depression, of unhappiness, of not having enough. It's just, don't focus on yourself. Focus on what you can do for other people.
John: What's a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Bill Widmer: Yeah, so I have two here. The first one is investing in myself, and putting money away to put towards my own knowledge, and the second one is having an attitude of gratitude.
John: Do you do any reading or education to learn how to invest in yourself and to save money?
Bill Widmer: A lot of just self education on the internet, but I also take a lot of courses because I find that even though there's a lot of free information out there, courses kind of compact that and give you systems that make it much easier to do it really quickly.
John: Is there any that come to mind that you can recommend?
Bill Widmer: Tai Lopez's course was pretty good. It taught you a lot of the basic knowledge and the way to think about –
John: Is that the 67 step one or is that a different one –
Bill Widmer: Yes, yes, 67 steps, that's the first one I ever took.
John: Cool, recommend one internet resource?
Bill Widmer: Yeah, so Ahrefs, obviously we already talked about that one, is really an amazing tool for SEO, and then another one is Cognitive SEO, which is a little bit more advanced, but it really can help you view your contents performance on a level from keyword standpoint.
John: Recommend one book and share why?
Bill Widmer: So, right now, I'm actually reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, and it is amazing because it's so filled with just golden nuggets that are highly actionable in all the different areas of life.
John: Bill, I want to end today on Fire, brother, with a parting piece of guidance from you. The best way that we can connect with you, and then we'll say goodbye.
Bill Widmer: Absolutely, so my biggest parting piece of guidance is just be eternally curious, always be thinking about what you can learn more about your craft, about life in general, and you'll never need to worry about motivation because curiosity just brings motivation. As far as getting in touch with me, you can go to my website, billwidmer.com, that's B-I-L-L-W-I-D-M-E-R.com. You can get ahold of me on Facebook or Twitter at Thebillwidner, and you can send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to hit me up, ask me anything, and I do have a little gift for Fire Nation, JLD.
Bill Widmer: Absolutely, so if you go to billwidmer.com/fire I will have a form set up there, and I'm giving away a free consulting call to the first 30 people that come to me and fill out this form, and I will just help you with everything as far as your SEO goes, the keyword research, setting up, content marketing, you name it. You have questions, I'll answer them.
John: Bill, I'm going to have to request you make that 31 because I want to be one of those people, and I don't want to take one of Fire Nation's spots, so can you do that for us?
Bill Widmer: Absolutely JLD, absolutely.
John: Yes, Fire Nation, don't take this lightly. You've heard the value that Bill has dropped. It's going to be an incredibly valuable call. Be one of those first 30. Stop everything and go right now and make that happen, and Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You've been hanging out with B Dubs and JLD today, so keep up the heat, and head over to eofire.com. If you type Bill in the search bar, his show notes page is going to pop up with everything that we've been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz. Timestamps of our conversation, links galore. Bill, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we'll catch you on the flip side.
Bill Widmer: Thanks, JLD. Fire Nation, you rock.
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