Episode 13: How to Grow Your Traffic From 40k to 1.6 Million Monthly Users

Meet the Guest: Jeannie Assimos

Jeannie Assimos is the Head of Content/Brand at Way.com. She is a creative director turned content marketer and strategist with more than 20 years of experience conceptualizing and executing breakthrough work for B2C brands like Eggo, Rice Krispies, Blue Cross, Cottonelle, and McDonald’s, and B2B brands like Fastly and Island.

Jeannie has a knack for leading cross-functional teams toward a common goal, bringing order to the oft-chaotic creative process, crafting insight-driven global campaigns, and bringing stories to life via long- and short-form content.

Follow Jeannie on LinkedIn. 

Jeannie assimos headshot

Podcast Episode Notes


Here are some of the biggest takeaways from this episode:

  • Broaden Your Content Scope: Don’t limit your content to just your immediate business area. Explore related topics and trending themes to attract a wider audience. 

  • Research and Identify Opportunities: Start with thorough research on what’s trending and what people are searching for. Look for content gaps and less competitive keywords to create high-ranking content.

  • Diversify Content Topics: Include a mix of high-intent topics that lead to conversions and fun or trending topics that build brand awareness.

  • Content Quality and Depth: Produce well-researched, thorough blogs with all necessary information, including FAQs and data points. Aim for comprehensive content that addresses all potential user questions.

  • Consistent Content Production: Maintain a regular content publishing schedule with a balance of trending, high-intent, and brand-building topics. Ensure your content team is adequately resourced to produce high-quality work.

  • Content Architecture and Interlinking: Organize your content with a clear site architecture and internal linking strategy. Think of your content structure as a tree with main topics as the trunk and subtopics as branches.

  • Leverage Visual Content: Use web stories, slideshows, charts, and data visualizations to enhance your content’s appeal and shareability. Visual content can help make your articles more engaging and digestible.

  • Thought Leadership: Create content that showcases your brand’s thought leadership and values. This can help build trust and engagement with your audience.

  • Content Syndication: Use content syndication services like Stacker to distribute your content widely and gain valuable backlinks, increasing your site’s domain authority and visibility.

  • Survey-Based Content: Conduct surveys with your audience to create newsworthy content and gain insights into customer preferences. Surveys can provide unique data that sets your content apart.

Mentioned Tools & Resources:

These are the tools and resources that were mentioned in the podcast episode:

  • Stacker: A content syndication service that distributes your content to multiple publications, helping increase your reach and domain authority.
  • Statista: Provides statistical data on a wide range of topics, useful for adding data points to your content.
  • SurveyMonkey: A tool for creating and distributing surveys to gather data from your audience.
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Episode Transcript

Ashley Segura: So Getting traffic to your content is huge. It’s a ginormous piece of the conversion puzzle. And you seem to have cracked that code by growing 40 K monthly visitors to 1. 6 million. How did you do that? What did that timeframe look like? What made that work for you? 

Jeannie Assimos: So when I started at way.com, it’s an auto app. And the team was very focused on working on content to just support the business, we are in the parking business. So they would write a lot of parking content, localized broader parking tips. So they were really staying in line with the, the auto app and just everything that, that the site or the company would offer.

So when I joined at the same time that the head of SEO, new head of SEO joined. So we sat down and just said, we gotta blow this out. We gotta do a lot more than just writing about parking. Cause that’s not, it can lead is high intent and it can lead to conversions, but like our SEO content can handle that.

So let’s. Let’s look at the opportunities within everything in the auto space. So we’re parking, we’re transportation where people are flying. So let’s like travel. So we really just looked at the opportunities. It all starts with researching. Looking at what’s going on in the news, what’s trending, what are people searching for in around these spaces?

So we just really I’d say we like started in this very narrow lane and we just went like this and just opened everything up. For example, when we started, there’s catalytic converter theft was like a hot topic at the time because it was happening everywhere. So bad. 

So we just dealt and we saw others opportunity here.

We can rank for this. This is not something that, you know, as you explore when a topic, you look to see how difficult will be to rank. Are there opportunities? Are there things people aren’t writing about? So we started writing like a local city. City articles about catalytic converter theft in San Jose and San Francisco and finding statistics about, you can really find a bunch of data out there if you dig enough, there’s like reports on different types of thefts going on in San Francisco and it would cover that.

So that was one area where we grew also just fun topics that don’t necessarily like high intent, but just bring brand awareness. What are people naming their white cars, like what’s a popular black car, like name, like stuff like that. So that stuff did well. Road trip music. Yeah, there’s like a, there’s a huge, I feel like it’s never ending, right?

There’s the, we also have, because we park for events, there’s like event parking. So there was like the Taylor Swift concert her concert starting and this is all the park, everything you need to know about the Taylor Swift concert and in your city. So we would write like different blogs if she was in Chicago or New York or wherever.

Or like those music festivals, we always had to make sure we had enough parking and inventory as a business. But cause otherwise, you’re writing a blog and no one’s going to do anything cause we don’t have supply so there was a lot of I would say separating into buckets, the content opportunities and then looking, researching the the actual traffic impact potential difficulty, and then ranking it from there.

Okay, guys, these are all these trending topics. Let’s start with the ones where we have the most potential to rank for that aren’t that difficult. Go, so we’d have them right on that trending stuff. We’d have them right on travel stuff. We’d have them also right on things that will impact our business, like event parking and airport parking.

So there’s always like a blend and a mix. And we were writing, we scale, I think we doubled the team when I started. So I think we had 15 writers creating between 150 to 200 blogs a month. And it’s not just like a 500 word blog. This is like a very well researched thorough blog with the table of contents with FAQs.

Which all the things that people are searching for related to that topic. So the idea is somebody is going to come to this article and like everything I want to know you’re going to find there. You’re going to find data points. I think charts and graphs and things like that. When you can, when you have those, when it makes sense. If it’s like TSA waiting times. That was another one. We saw opportunity. People are searching for that and there wasn’t a ton of content on it. So let’s go find out what they are. Let’s integrate that into, an SEO page and let’s write blogs about it. It’s just looking for opportunity out there and it’s, surprising that things haven’t been tapped into so much.

And then going from there, I think also being consistent, writing high quality stuff, interlinking, having a good like site architecture with like subcategories and all that, making sure that you’ve got all your bones there first cause I’ve seen, I’ve had friends that have launched blogs, I look at my blog and I’m just like, Oh my God, this is a mess.

There’s no organization. There’s no there’s got to be structure and organization. And first I think if you could just have all these random articles written everywhere and there’s no nice hierarchy, I always think of like content SEO is almost like a tree, right? Like you’ve got this like base of your tree with your main topic, and then you’ve got all your branches with your like subtopics and all your different.

It’s like thinking about just the architecture like that. It’s just a very important piece of the puzzle for, if you want to rank. 

Ashley Segura: Yeah. A hundred percent. Creating huge pieces of content, which you’re checking that box. Great. But being able to have a very clear user flow of what they should do next from this piece or how to even find this information or where within this, they can find the specific questions that they have.

And I love the Taylor Swift example because parking isn’t the prettiest of industry and informative and we need the information, but there’s not really glitter on it. And I always get clients that come across and we’re really niche and our industry is a little boring or it’s not, we don’t know how to spin it or create new content that’s exciting that people are actually searching for right now,it’s like the, that’s a perfect example of how you can take something that’s currently trending right now that’s relevant. Yeah. And then incorporate your brand with it without it being a stretch.

This is very relevant. If you’re going to a concert, a festival, you’re most likely, you’re going to need to know ride share options and parking options. What does that look like? And so it’s not a perfect opportunity. I know. 

Jeannie Assimos: And then there’s other you can, delve into thought leadership too.

If you really want your brand to stand for something, like I started this series called what drives you. Cause I just wanted to have I wanted to have a well rounded content arena, like within our, not only have the informative and the parking stuff and the whatever, the travel or even car insurance stuff, but thought leadership too, I feel like is so relevant now because people want to know what your brand stands for. They want to know what you’re about. They want to know who they’re doing business with. That’s just the reality of today. For me I, what drives you is an opportunity to just, it’s just a nice sort of like side aside to our business.

So I’ve interviewed all sorts of interesting people who’ve really achieved like high levels of success. And I wanted to know how they got there. What drove you? Were you like that as a child? So those have been really well received and very fun to do for me as well. But those have also given us some awesome backlinks, which you and I’ve talked about a little bit.

Which is also really helpful to growing your business and just the more of those you get, I think we, all of us marketers and PR people, and we all understand the power of a backlink from like a high domain authority site. So I was mentioning this earlier that another way we’ve grown is to syndicate our content out.

So once you’ve got enough content and it’s like newsy or trending another reason to do that is that you can syndicate it and there’s a company called stacker and they syndicate content out across the United States. So now we appear on like msn.com or Miami Herald or yeah, all these sites have to post and that’s been really great too, because I think it’s really raised our brand visibility.

It’s ran our, it’s definitely raised our domain authority by significantly in six, eight months. That’s been amazing. Cause that just gives you like, yeah, a overall halo lift for your whole site, which is important. I think we increased by 8 or 9 points, which is a lot. That’s, yeah, that’s significant.

It’s been a very valuable partnership. I enjoy it. It’s fun to see our stuff out there. And it it’s fun to stretch our writing team, too. Just to, it keeps it interesting for them, right? So I feel like You can find any business that might seem super boring. Say, it’s just, I don’t know, I don’t know.

It would be boring. If you’re making trash cans, right? It’s okay. There’s gotta be a fun spin to it. 10 moments in your life. I don’t know. Things you found in the trash that were insane or I don’t know. There’s always like recycle, like the craziest recycling story, or you can always find a way to be creative and have fun with it, or just play off a theme or something.

Yeah, I think again at the end of the day, we’re all trying to create, if we’re doing, if we’re content marketers, we’re trying to create content that is going to make the end user very happy. It’s going to be everything they want. So you want to be really well thought about what you’re writing.

About what you’re offering am I giving the customer what they need? Is this answering their questions? Is it giving him information? Is it giving him data? Is it fun? Is it interesting? Is it engaging? Got to check all those boxes because it’s competitive out there. Just, it’s a thoughtful.

Process. It’s not something where I just sit down and write something in 30 minutes. It’s just, I guess it all depends on what your intention is, but if you’re trying to grow traffic and you want Google to be friendly with you, you’ve got to have all that stuff in there, period, 

Ashley Segura: yeah. And in the age of helpful content, like what helpful content is like fairly clear that we need to be addressing exactly what the user intent is. So if that’s from an informational standpoint, that means not burying the answer five paragraphs down just to keep them on the page more because really they’re leaving, they’re bouncing off because they’re not getting it right away.

And I love that you mentioned table of contents and FAQs because. That is so vital and such a big part of the helpful piece of content, because especially for these longer pieces that you produce, you can skip over right to the information that you want, understand the writing style, understand the info, maybe be more curious as a user and then engage with the full content.

But is there anything else that you’re doing other than those two elements to really ensure that all of these pieces of content that you’re creating are like really fleshed out? 

Jeannie Assimos: I think like a visual representation. So if you can do a web story, I feel like those are getting picked up a lot by Google.

Those are great. Just a visual like slideshow. If you can include data charts, statistics, I was mentioning Statista, which is a site where you can get data. They release data every day on all sorts of topics from everything that from Google. The presidential race to our people, like, how are people doing around the world?

Are people smoking more or less or globally? There’s an endless offering of data there. So like finding sites like that, that I’ve been using them a lot the last few years, especially once I’ve come to weigh when you, it depends on what eHarmony, we had a lot of data on our customers and we had a whole, like researched, we had a research scientist.

Team that I could say, Hey what are people, what are people mentioning in their profiles? What is, what’s the top, what’s the thing, what is something that you’re seeing now that you never used to see? And I remember when politics started to become something that we common, a topic they would bring up in their profiles.

So we would write articles about that. And data points, I think are also super valuable. So wherever you can find them, whether it’s internally or it’s through a government site where they have data that relates to your business or like a statistic, I think that’s also super valuable for your content.

Ashley Segura: Yeah, that’s huge and really helps. Prove the point from an information standpoint and really helps that maybe secondary intent that a user has is they’re trying to get an answer to something or get more information about something. And it also allows that curiosity to start because it’s like, Oh, wow.

There’s actually a, for example, say a 10 percent increase in people smoking. I thought it would have been a decrease. I’m going to keep reading because of that stat that’s in there. 

Jeannie Assimos: And it’s like easy, I think easily digestible too. Like I think there’s something to keeping it simple. I think that’s why listicles do so well.

Because yeah, you’re just keeping it simple. Do to 10, 10 things you need to know about, summer festivals or whatever or 10, the 10 hot nail colors of the summer. Like I feel like that simplistic listicle, like there’s a reason that’s so popular. There’s a reason the buzzfeed.

Did so well for so long. So I feel like that is also just the simple. And I think, something that like young content creators do, I’ve noticed and I’m sure I did this too, is, you feel like you’ve got all these great creative, fun ideas and word games that you can play or just I feel like a lot of times I’ll notice a lot of fluff, in an article and it’s I know you’re creative and I know this is for you. It’s fun to floss that content muscle that you have, but let’s get to the point. This is, why are people reading this? They’re not coming to read Jeannie’s thoughts, trying to be clever.

It’s no, insert a little bit of humanity and your personality into it. But I think you need to be very clear. This is not about me. This is about providing. Information for the consumer. So I think that’s just something to keep in mind that I’ve noticed with a lot of my younger team members that sometimes I’ll do that.

I’m like, you don’t need all this. You don’t need all this. Yeah, it’s just funny. I think it’s maybe something that we all tend to do. 

Ashley Segura: Yeah. And that’s a backstory. That’s not a hundred percent. Yeah, totally. You mentioned at eHarmony, like having a data team, which amazing resource to have and at way.

com having a pretty decent sized content team. There’s a lot of brands who. If they have a content team, it’s one person who’s head of content and also the individual contributor and managing a bunch of writers. Or there’s a single blogger who is the single creator of everything. Like you think that achieving traffic metrics and the growth that you did is achievable for smaller teams like that.

Jeannie Assimos: I do. If you’re very like. Thought out and you’re researching what you’re writing about because it just takes one article to perform well, and that can bring you so much traffic you don’t need 100 articles. You just need 1. For example, when I was at eHarmony, I was managing a bunch of different content sites, because eHarmony at that time was like, Oh, we want to help people feel better.

The different stages, dating, relationships, getting married, parenting. And there was a site I managed called just mommies. com homegrown, very small site for moms that were like sharing their tips and there was one, it wasn’t a big site by any means, but there was one article every month that brought in like 40 to 50, 000 users.

And it was something long tail about the placentia eruption. I can’t remember the exact, but I always laugh at that. So give the keeps on giving. So yes, you can absolutely rank that. If you do your research and that, Oh, wow. Some people are searching for this.

Maybe 5, 000 people are searching for this. The keyword difficult or, a difficulty is low or difficulty to rank as low then. Okay. Yeah. I think we could do well on this one. So I think it’s just being very thoughtful and intentional about opportunities, right? Like you’re not going to want, you’re not going to just start writing.

Like I gave motor trend as the example, I’m not going to have my writers for way. com. Try to write car reviews and compete with motor trend, like our car and driver, because those guys have been around forever. They’re like, authority on this topic is way higher than we’ll probably ever be. Why I’m not going to try to compete there, I’m going to compete in areas where there’s opportunity and that I know we can do well.

So I think that like needs, I think working with a. Either having SEO knowledge yourself or working in tandem with your, or partnering with your SEO team is really important because, you can’t it’s such a helpful tool to be able to, to understand, where you can, where there’s opportunities to rank.

Ashley Segura: Oh yeah, definitely. Content, yum topic ideation is our first service, but we have so many people who come to us and they’re like, Oh, we have ideas of what we want to write about, but. We just need the content outlines. And we’ve gone over what makes a piece of content helpful, but it really starts with that initial topic of, is this something that people are actively searching for right now?

Does it have to do with your niche? Can you authoritatively talk about it versus just jumping on the bandwagon and putting on some random expert hat that you. Should not where there’s exactly very fine line with that. And you talked about authority with you can develop authority over time with increased content.

And backlinks. . I would love to dive back into there because the whole concept of getting published on bigger sites help increase your domain authority is a great way for even small teams to be able to increase traffic to their site. Yeah. So are you creating content on Substack it.

As its own silo and on your site and blog separately, or how did, what does that process look like? 

Jeannie Assimos: Yeah so we’ll create the blog on our site. Okay. Like for example, it was like May is mental health month. So I wrote a blog about mental health month and I’d interviewed this woman who, sorry Johnny’s a wandering around here.

So I interviewed this woman who, was one of those sort of like self help. She had written a book about how she on her journey overcame horrible things in her childhood to become like a talk show. So she’s doing well. She had these like great tips for mental health every day. So that was written on our blog and then I we syndicated it out.

Yeah, it’s on our blog, but it’s also on stackers blog and then they syndicated out. Across the country. So it has, I think the cool thing is I think that one got, there’s pickups, it gets picked up by X amount of publications and like they say anything over one 50 is good. And I think some of our stuff has gotten like three, 400 pickups.

Wow. Yeah. So it’s been great. It’s been a great partnership. It’s really helped elevate us from the authority perspective. Now, if you. We’re a company and you wanted to syndicate one article out a month. You could do that. You don’t need to, you can do one piece. We do four a month. Okay. I think it costs around 10 K so it’s not cheap.

Yeah. If you want to, yeah, it is a good investment and it’s like a. A quick way to get a ton of high quality backlinks, which is very hard to do. It’s such a granular, it’s a grind, especially if you’re like a PR person and you’re trying to get, you could get maybe two or three a month with PR efforts, you’re going to get, you could get 200.

So it’s definitely, I feel like we’re worth the investment to explore content syndication. 

Ashley Segura: Yeah. Especially from a financial investment. That’s pretty in par with a lot of PR companies that will go out and do that though, and you’re not going to get 

Jeannie Assimos: as many, yeah, 

Ashley Segura: totally. No, for 

Jeannie Assimos: sure. There’s no way they could get as many 

Ashley Segura: snow.


Jeannie Assimos: Yeah. And the PR, like the PR. Timeline is such a such a long timeline. I handle PR for way. com and, you establish relationships with reporters and then you come back to them and you come back to them again and, and then you write, you pitch things and then, once every six months you’re like, Oh my God, they picked us up or whatever, but.

Yeah, there’s no guarantees. No, there’s never a guarantee. They may not link back to you either. A lot of them just have the policy of not doing that. Your bosses are like, what? You’re like, but it’s to be mentioned as a thing. They’re like, I don’t care. I just want it back. If that’s your bosses. Go with the syndicated content route, look up stacker. com, seriously. 

Ashley Segura: Yeah. stacker. com definitely sounds like a better solution. 

Jeannie Assimos: Yeah. Yeah. And there’s other ones too, but they approached us about a year ago and they said, Hey, we really like your content. You guys have writing about a lot of different topics and we think that’s a great this could be something.

So it’s been great. 

Ashley Segura: That’s fantastic. I feel like we’ve covered so many different aspects of how to grow your content, how to mass produce content, but also do so with a strategy and different resources to implement in that strategy. So I feel like we’ve really covered a lot of the growth angles, but as we wrap I’m really curious to hear what your current secret sauce is.

What’s that one tool or resource or strategy that is new to you that you’re absolutely loving right now? Oh, 

Jeannie Assimos: that’s a good one. It’s not necessarily super new, but a way to create news and to create a story is to just do a survey with your, everybody’s, every company has a customer base, right?

So like I had our email marketing team send out a survey through SurveyMonkey, and it was just, I was curious about EV ownership and is this a political party thing? Is there any kind of, does that factor in whether more Democrats who are interested in EVs versus Republicans?

Does it matter on a state level? Does it, is it a millennial thing? So you can just, you can, Send out surveys 

Ashley Segura: and, 

Jeannie Assimos: That can just become, you can create news, which I think is just, I think it’s very cool. We’ve had some wins with that for sure. Yeah, because sometimes there’s just not a lot happening.

You’re like, what is going on in the world and how could we be a part of that story? So I think surveys are great. We actually, I had done a survey, eHarmony, which sort of you know. And I wouldn’t say it’s not new secret sauce, but I do think it’s very effective. I’ve done it a few times away, but eHarmony we did the state of relationships in America and we ask people a bunch of questions across the country and really interesting to see what came back for Gen Z and millennials and just their communication styles and things that are just things that are always antithetical to what you would think.

Are always like a good headline, like totally Gen Z or, value communication more than, Gen X. And you’re like, what? You never think that because you just think everyone’s on their phones, but actually they’re very communicative and. They understand the value of that. So stuff like that, always looking for something that’s not obvious is great too 

Ashley Segura: as an ex journalist.

Like the idea of creating the news just makes me so happy. Yes, that’s so good. Finding a place for your brand identity, regardless of what’s going on. And if you don’t fit that current narrative, if there isn’t like a good Taylor Swift parking narrative for you, and not using an SEO tool to do it, but more of like traditional marketing, asking your customers.

And if you don’t have customers yet serving the industry, talking to thought leaders, it 

Jeannie Assimos: would 

Ashley Segura: be cool to find 

Jeannie Assimos: out like with the whole Boeing stuff. Are people more hesitant? We haven’t done this, but it would be interesting to know like when you’re booking your travel, are you looking to see is this a Boeing jet?

If so, are you trying to find alternatives? Is this really a thing? And then we get like 60 percent of people saying, yeah, I’m looking now. That could be a story. They’re avoiding, so like things like that, always looking at what’s going on. And like when COVID was happening and people weren’t driving, it was like, how do you feel?

Are you commuting? Are you, how many people are actually working from home versus having to still go in the office? Like you can find things out like that, which tie into the story. And even now, like the working from home is still a hotly debated topic. That’s a way just tapping into things that are going on that people are interested in is always, there’s always a win.

Ashley Segura: Yes. Even if it’s not timely and trending in this moment, but like you mentioned COVID it, there was so much in that and there’s so much that you could even re bring up a lot of those conversations and make it timely now, but it’s doing it carefully. It’s having really flushed out content, having a goal with that piece of content in mind, having a good internal linking strategy, having all of the elements, like you mentioned, the data behind it, the table of contents, the FAQs, that all of that is really going to help get people to your site and then help them stay and understand who your brand is and what your offerings are as well. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more. Thank you so much for everything that you shared. Really appreciate you having really appreciate having you on the show today.

Jeannie Assimos: I had such a good time. It’s such a great conversation. It’s always fun to take a step back and think about strategies. And when you’re in the weeds every day, you don’t think about everything you’ve learned. So it’s fun to do that. Thank you.