Ep29 – Pt 2 Good SEO – $1500 per month vs $99 per month


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This is Part 2 of “Good SEO – $1500 per month vs $99 per month”. If you haven’t already, be sure to listen to Part 1 here (otherwise this may not make any sense)

So what’s the purpose of this episode?

Almost every new prospect that comes my way, asks the question, “What do I get?” In this episode, we cover exactly what a typical SEO campaign entails, what’s included, and the processes involved (along with how and why)

It’s hopeful that these two episodes will help business owners understand the difference between cheap, crappy SEO that costs $99 per month as opposed to high quality SEO services where the processes are done right. Once you’ve finished listening to these two episodes, you might want to check out this one as well, where we talk about cheap SEO and why it’s a complete waste of time.

As always, if you have a question or comment, please post it below and we’ll answer it.

In this episode

  • 00:30 – Step 5. Offpage optimisation
  • 00:30 – Reverse engineering explained (for high quality links)
  • 03:50 – Performing offpage optimisation as a long term, sustainable, white hat way
  • 07:23 – Step 6. Content marketing – Why content is absolutely vital for long term SEO success
  • 09:20 – Why consistent content will help boost your SEO
  • 09:30 – My predictions for new job roles for content managers
  • 10:22 – Reverse engineering and content – Finding content that is going to help boost your SEO almost immediately
  • 15:21 – Your SEO campaign will be so much more successful if you’re motivated to publish high quality outstanding content
  • 16:51 – Ensuring clients are educated about the process so that they can take on their own SEO at the end of their campaign
  • 18:05 – Your content must be worthy of payment
  • 18:36 – Step 7 – Ongoing refinement, monitoring and reporting
  • 19:40 – Providing clients with meaningful reports that helps them become more profitable
  • 22:58 – How to squeeze the best performance out of your site during an SEO campaign
  • 24:00 – Business owners need to understand that SEO takes time
  • 24:40 – Content is much like speaking with a store owner about their products & services


John Romaine: — off-page optimization, oh God. Okay, I’m not even going to waste my time talking about any of that crappy stuff because we spoke about that in the last call but my strategy for off-page optimization, right, and I’ve covered this quite a few times now involves reverse engineering. Let me explain this to you in simple terms and for the listeners so they understand it. You have a Web site and when it comes to getting links the first thing that you do is you sit down, where can I get good quality links? Well, I always say to my clients send me a listing of say — well, send me a listing of as many competitor sites as possible so they might send a list of ten — I mean, I might dig around a bit more to find more. But the more competitor sites you can get, the better.

And that’s essentially just reverse engineering of each of those competing sites. So let’s say you get five sites, Site 1 has X amount of good links, Site 2 has X amount of good links, Site 3 and so on and so on. You reverse engineer all of those sites, compile all of that data and dump it into a master spreadsheet. I know you follow this same process too because it works and it’s about as close as you’ll get to White Hat SEO; natural links.

Reverse engineer, compile a master spreadsheet and then sort those in-bound links that are pointing to your competitors by domain authority descending. And the reason I say that is because you’ll want to focus on the most powerful links or the most useful links from top to bottom. It doesn’t make any sense to be looking at crappy backlinks that aren’t going to make any sort of difference.

But that spreadsheet essentially forms the foundation of my off-page optimization process. It’s not fun, it’s not sexy and I’m sure if anyone sat in front of it and saw a spreadsheet with 10,000 records in it they’d go, oh God! But this is what it takes to do it right.

Byron Trzeciak: But John that seems like it’s going to take a really long time.

John Romaine: And it does. And this is what clients are paying for. You know what —

Byron Trzeciak: A good co-host, I’m a good co-host —

John Romaine: Just open the door, occasionally throw a handful of peanuts in the room and run away.

John Romaine: You know, I said to a client once, I said, you’re not just paying me to do the right thing, you’re also paying me to not do the wrong thing because it would be quite easy for me to take someone’s money and just go over to Microworkers and say I just want some links built to this site but that’s not how I operate and I know you do likewise.

Byron Trzeciak: Yep.

John Romaine: And the whole purpose of having that spreadsheet is to get an understanding or gain better insights into the types of links that are making a difference. You know, it’s not hard to look at the search results and most business owners will be able to do this. Look at the search results and say, man, these guys are Number 1 or top of the page in Google for almost every damn term I type in. Well then doesn’t it make sense for you to reverse engineer and replicate what’s already working?

So that off-page optimization process it’s extensive, it does take time, it’s not sexy but it does work and that’s about as clear as I can explain it. I mean, there’s more layers to it, you want to get started in outreach and using search query operators and finding niche directories and so forth, it’s very time consuming.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, I think our approach John is for sustainability as well, you know. I think obviously we mention a lot of negative ways of doing some of these off-page optimization and the way that we’re doing it, we’re doing it in White Hat sustainable approach, you know, that it’s not like buying in — you turn on the TV, you get an infomercial about the latest diet fad, it’s not a fad what we’re doing. What we’re doing is something that’s going to sustain. It’s like getting your diet in track and it’s getting — you’re running everyday for 20 minutes and you’re doing that consistently for six days a week. It’s getting all of that in place so that you’re built for the future, you know, you’re not going to come around one day and go, oh, hang on, I was number one but where am I now? Oh, I’m not there at all. What’s going on?

So these are sustainable results built on quality high-grade practices that are going to last businesses.

John Romaine: That’s right. Most — I shouldn’t say most but who knows, if you’re working with a cheap SEO agency and they’re blasting links at your site it’s going to be a little blip on the radar. You’ll get a spike, you might rank for three to six months and then all of the sudden, gone!

Byron Trzeciak: Definitely.

John Romaine: The links that I build, you know, this is a long-term approach it’s all about strengthening your link profile and you’re not going to do that if you’re outsourcing to the Philippines or using automated software. And part of that process of going through that spreadsheet, probably leads us on to our next step but, you know, when you start reverse engineering competitors and you can see that they’re getting links from good quality sites, you get a better understanding of why and that can help you either build out more content or pages on the site or essentially it just gives you some direction so that you’re not just guessing.

You know, I find it really interesting when I get involved in discussions in forums or Facebook groups or whatever else and people say, what’s working now in SEO for 2015 and whatever and people say, oh press releases are working or guest posting is working. You know what, I don’t do any of that stuff unless I know I need to and I can only — I’ll only know that I need to when I start reverse engineering that particular niche or that marketplace. It doesn’t make sense for me to go out and start mucking around doing press releases if I don’t need to. So, off-page optimization, as I said, is really — it’s one of the most important parts of the campaign, I mean, they’re all important but off-page optimization especially is what’s going to make the difference in terms of increasing your rankings.

Just to touch on the points that I’ve got on my process page; performing outreach, foundational link-building or citations, listing your business within high-quality, highly-moderated, which is really important, relevant niche specific directories, link-building opportunities and that’s all part of reverse engineering and also, well, I call it content marketing opportunities or CMO which we’ll touch on next.

Byron Trzeciak: All right, well let’s go on to Step 6 for content marketing.

John Romaine: You hate content don’t you?

Byron Trzeciak: I don’t hate content, I love it but it’s just a matter of John, why do I want to do content? I just want to rank, you know. But I think the point here, you know, high quality content is what will really drive more traffic to your site and I think that’s spot on, you know. Off-site can add a bit of authority, maybe a little bit of traffic as well but I do think content these days, and it’s probably been the backbone for many years now is what drives the traffic to your site and probably ultimately what increases the conversions as well.

John Romaine: Content is one of those things, and you’re absolutely right, and I get it too, in fact I had a client cancel out just recently. I won’t go into the reasons why but they were just completely against content or even the whole thought of having to publish content. Again, it was that mindset, we just want to rank. Dan Petrovich, his video comes to mind where he talks about the basics of SEO’s about producing high quality content written by expert authors, highly knowledgeable experts; content that’s written by experts. I’ll get it out eventually.

Content that that’s fantastic that attracts natural links and when that happens then your rankings improve. That’s the way the algorithm is really meant to work; it’s just you can manipulate the research results through manual link-building. Something that clients really need to be aware of is that, sure, you can hire someone like myself or Byron to build links, and that’s going to make a difference, but it’s all about momentum, right? And if you stop your SEO campaign and you’re not publishing high quality content, then your site is just going to dribble off the first page of Google and you’ll be back to Page 8 before you know it.

Content is — oh look, it’s becoming more and more important and I saw just recently in a Google+ discussion, you’ll start seeing, actually it may have been Flying Solo, you’ll start seeing businesses soon posting out jobs. I mean, you may already see them now in CareerOne and Seek, they’ll start hiring people just to publish content and create high-quality content but it’s such a struggle for business owners because this is the objection that I always get, who’s going to read this?

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah.

John Romaine: That’s such a like narrow minded view. If you have — and it doesn’t matter if you’re a plumber or you’re selling BMW’s, there’s always opportunities for content there and, you know, this touches back on the off-page optimization method that I spoke about just a minute ago where I’m talking about reverse engineering. Once you start digging through a spreadsheet you can find content, right, and this is what business owners need to be aware of, you can find content that your competitors have published that have attracted kick-ass links and I’m talking about links from media, newspapers, TV, radio, links like that are going to make a huge difference. That isn’t always the case, I’m just giving an example but when I’m reverse engineering competitor sites and I find a piece of content like, to give you an example, if I was working on a wedding favors site and one of their competitors had published a wedding planner checklist or something and that had received a lot of links because it was such a useful resource then it makes sense for me to go back to my client and say, hey, these guys have done this, I think you should do something very similar, of course don’t copy, replicate but improve.

Now, if you’ve got a client that’s not motivated and they say, oh, we don’t see any value in it, I think there’s a big difference there. If you go to the client and say, I think you should publish some 500-word articles and put the keyword at the top, that’s just useless, right, but if you go back to a client and say, your competitor has done this and these are the results they’ve gotten as a result of doing that, clients that get it will be hauling ass to get that content published.

Byron Trzeciak: We talked about previously John like car parts. You’ve got your car that you’ve been working on and probably the quality of some of these Web sites that you go on and visit, you have to think about any of these industry Web sites or things that interest you for me like my in-line hockey mass, hockey — you know, to be able to Google something and go, I want to look for this new part for the car or I want to look for these for a new pair of gloves for my hockey for example, and the people that are doing the content well, they’re popping up all of the time; all of these different queries, you know? All of the sudden I’m watching a video of their product demonstration, I’m watching how they fit it or different alternatives that you can get, a different level of quality that you get per the amount you pay. All of this information just adds to that buying process and all of the sudden John’s going, well, these guys have just told me that they’ve got the product in stock, why wouldn’t I buy it from them, you know, and it just makes complete sense when you get that, when you get that big picture you just go it’s like a light blub switches on.

John Romaine: Yeah, that’s right, so, as part of that reverse engineering process, like I just said, you find these content marketing opportunities, you say to the client this is what’s currently working in this space, these guys are getting a shitload of links because they’re doing this high quality content, they’re doing videos, they’re running a Podcast, they’re doing really useful — they’ve got checklists and PDF’s and all of these tools, software and resources in place; you guys have got to get moving.

So, you know, that’s something that you just won’t get with cheap SEO and you work with people like us and we can take care of it and we’ll ensure that the content is fantastic and the content is done with — in fact there’s a strategy behind it. I see so many SEO — I mean, I spoke about this in the last Podcast, we’ll write five SEO articles and it comes back to that publish and pray approach where you’ve written some flat 500-word article, you press submit and it gets one tweet and two Facebook likes and no links.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah.

John Romaine: So, you know, you pay the right money, you work with a quality provider that will understand all of this stuff, you’ll get content that will actually make a difference and when you publish a good piece of content that you know has worked for a competitor, then you can tie that in with outreach and say, hey, we noticed that you guys have linked to X, Y, Zed SEO because they’ve published this, blah, blah, blah article or whatever else. We’ve also done one similar. Ours takes a little bit of a different angle or we’ve improved upon it, would you consider linking to us as well?

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah.

John Romaine: Site owners are much more motivated and likely to do that if they’re already linking to someone else or a competitor. Not always, there’s no guarantees but it certainly gives you more chance of getting high-quality links than it does just by using that, following that, publish and pray —

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, something that we’ve spoken a lot about John is how much easier the job becomes for us in terms of off-page link-building. You know, if you’re going there and saying, look, I’ve got this amazing resource that you know that the industry that you’re within is going to get some benefit and value from it, you know, you just reach out saying like you said, hey, I’ve got this great piece of content, I think you’d find a lot of value for it, I think your audience would find a lot of value to this, you know, are you open to linking back to my site?

John Romaine: That’s right.

Byron Trzeciak: You’ve got to give people a reason to, you know, links just don’t happen just for the sake of it. Give them a reason to link to you.

John Romaine: Yeah, there’s a huge misunderstanding by most clients in the SEO industry and they think that we’re magicians and we can just wave a magic wand and everything will just take care of itself. No, that’s not true! This — it’s so, I shouldn’t say complex and detailed, but it can be depending upon the complexity of the marketplace that the client is operating in. But, you know, whenever I sit with a client and they’re not motivated or interested in publishing content, that just makes my job so much harder and, yeah, okay, I can sit here all day, everyday building links and doing reverse engineering and whatever else but I know for a fact that your SEO campaign is not going to work long-term and when we finish working together, whether it be a month, three, or six months later, everything is going to come to a grinding halt because there’s no momentum there.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, definitely.

John Romaine: When I work with my clients — sorry, I was just going to say, when I work with my clients, I’m sure you do this too Byron, you’re not only providing the service but you’re also educating them along the way. So when they finish working with us, right, they can go on to implement this stuff, they understand what needs to be done.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, definitely.

John Romaine: That’s a worthwhile investment.

Byron Trzeciak: 100%, yeah. I was just going to say, it’s a bit like when you’re walking down the street, for example, and you might see like a Holden drive past and then you see a Lancer drive past, all of the sudden down comes this Lamborghini Diablo and everyone on the street they all start pointing at it going, oh, look dad, you know, look at the Lamborghini, how awesome is that, you know? That’s because this is a stunning vehicle and you kind of look at your content the same way, what’s going to make everyone kind of get some attention on it, get some eyes on it and get everyone pointing towards it.

John Romaine: You have — you’re exactly right. You have to stand out.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, if you’re in that Holden kind of Lancer area, you know, it might be okay, it’s a solid car but it’s not going to get people pointing so think about your content like the Lamborghini and the Ferrari, it’s got to make people take notice.

John Romaine: You’ve got to be publishing something that people are willing to pay for or something that — they get to the end of reading and say, wow, this is fantastic information!

And you know what makes it really easy for most business owners that come on board as paying customers and they want to get an SEO campaign underway? What makes it really easy, most of their competitors will be dead lazy, their content is rubbish or they’re not publishing content at all. If that’s the case then it’s an easy win.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah.

John Romaine: So moving along here.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, yeah. So, Step 7; ongoing refinement monitoring and reporting.

John Romaine: Byron you’re the reporting guru.

Byron Trzeciak: God, I do love reporting.

John Romaine: You do!

Byron Trzeciak: I’ve got a no-nonsense approach.

John Romaine: I’ve never seen anyone get so excited by analytics.

Byron Trzeciak: I think it comes from my security days, you know, where security was so similar, you could pump out these reports and they’ve got everything under the sun and you’d go over to your system admin or whatever and he’d look at you and go, I’m going to read through 100 page document, are you kidding me? This thing sounds like, you know, like I’m reading the newspaper backwards, it’s horrible.

So, yeah, and I had a manager at one stage and he’s just like, you know, cut this out, what does this even mean and he’d go through each of these items and go, what does this mean Byron, this doesn’t make any sense to me. And I think I took my approach from that so reporting, like we’ve mentioned in the past, we like to focus on conversions John and giving our clients an actionable reporting that really shows a level of performance and what’s going on, you really want to be able to break it down and see your data from a few different angles to be able to understand exactly what’s going on.

John Romaine: Yeah, and we’re probably, again, as we said previously, we’re probably a little bit different to traditional SEO firms because their emphasis is placed upon ensuring a positive return on investment for our clients. I — man, I shutter when I have a client come to me and they give me a list of 5000 keywords and say, we want a rankings report for all 5000 keywords once a week.

And we’re going to talk about that in our next episode but as we’ve said plenty of times we give reports to business owners that actually are meaningful so if they’re putting a dollar in they get two dollars out. And sure, we understand that rankings are important but when that becomes a primary focus of the campaign then you start moving back towards that cheap crappy stuff where it’s like just blast links at this page to push it up in the search results and that just — that just becomes a vicious circle then.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, exactly.

John Romaine: But, you know, simple terms I guess, just make sure the squiggly line is moving in the right direction overall.

Byron Trzeciak: I mean, you’ve got their ongoing refinement. I mean, each of these areas or steps that we’ve spoken about, John, are something that it’s not a one-stop shop. You can go back to any of these areas and readjust. I mean, look at your site John, I know you’ve changed it a number of times. If you find out what’s working, you don’t automatically know what’s working it’s like when you get to Version 1 one of something like let’s go to the car example again. You know, Version 1 of the Ferrari looks much different to a modern-day Lamborghini, you know, or Ferrari and that’s the same with your Web site, same with your on-site. Sometimes you’ve got to fail a few times before you start finding the right pathway.

John Romaine: Yeah, well, it’s all about tweaking stuff, you know, if a client —

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, it’s constant tweaking.

John Romaine: If a client comes to me and, oh, we’ve done this and we’ve done that and we’re two months into a campaign and their goals and objectives are to get an inquiry a day, you know, we’ve finish the audit, we’ve looked at — we’ve done some research and analysis, we’ve mapped out a strategy, we start planning out the on-page, as part of that make some changes to the Web site so that we can up the conversions and get more inquiries. If you got a sidebar on the right, you know, you can be changing just small stuff. Changing the color of a button or the background imagine on a call to action to make those things happen.

I mean, again, it’s a little bit outside of SEO, I understand that, but we do this stuff because we actually care but I’ve never seen a Web site finished ever, Web sites are usually always being updated and changed.

Byron Trzeciak: Oh, definitely. It’s very different to like a book or something, you might write a book and that’s the finished product but a Web site it just never ends. You’re constantly refining it.

John Romaine: So, I mean, in terms of refinement out want to squeeze the performance out of every site as much as possible so that when you sit on the end of month strategy calls, and I know that we both do them to bring a client up to speed with what’s going on, you can say, all right, we’ve made these changes and this is the impact that it’s had. We’ve either gone backwards a little bit so we reverse those, hopefully that doesn’t happen, but sometimes it does or we’ve made these changes here in line with what the data was showing us, you know, heat map tracking or the way in which we’ve restructured the Web site and it’s made a positive change. We’re up 25% compared to this time I’d say last month.

So you should always be looking at that and you know, I always am a bit hesitant when I sit on a call with a client and say, oh, if we’re not getting results in two or three months we’ll cancel. You can’t do anything meaningful in that time. You certainly can’t do any sort of ongoing refinement because the campaign is not long enough to gather any sort of useful data.

Byron Trzeciak: Definitely.

John Romaine: So ongoing refinement and monitoring is important.

Byron Trzeciak: Oh, definitely. And I mean if you look at the SEO side of things, John, in our industry like that’s probably up there with one of the most competitive industries in the world in terms of search engines I would think. I’m not sure there would be as many as competitive as that, major SEO keywords, you know, there’s a lot of competition there.

John Romaine: Oh, you get into the finance and pharmaceutical stuff.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah.

John Romaine: Probably real estate maybe.

Byron Trzeciak: But could you imagine like coming on board and saying, John, like I expect to be number one here in like two months, I mean, I’m just that confident. I mean, you’d walk out with a box of tissues in tears I’d say like, you’d be that upset.

John Romaine: Like you said the other day, who would open up a bricks and mortar store? You wouldn’t open up a physical store, pack it full of product, stand at the front counter at the cash register and say to yourself, you know, if this business isn’t working in two months I’m going to close down. Business owners need to understand that an online business is no different to an offline business.

When you open a bricks and mortar store you’re there for the long-haul. You’re thinking, right, I’ve invested a lot of money and time into this, I need to make this work and I understand that it’s going to take some time but I’m willing to stick to it.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah.

John Romaine: The same mindset needs to be applied to online business; just press a few buttons and the money comes out of your CD-Rom drive.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, well so many Web sites get abandoned don’t they? Be like walking into a local store and there’s just nobody there. You just walk on in and like, oh, can I just take products or like what’s going on here?

John Romaine: You know and content, if you think about it, when you walk into a store, what do you do? You have a conversation with the store owner, can you tell me about this product? How do I clean it? How do I take care of it? How much does maintenance cost? Where’s the best place to store this thing? How can I get batteries? You know what, that’s all content so it’s very similar to what I was talking about a minute ago with content and how it’s important for SEO.

Byron Trzeciak: That’s funny when you say that too because you walk into like JB Hi-Fi or something and a guy comes up to you and sometimes you’ll talk to him and like, ah, what kind of laptop is this? And they might say, I’m not sure, let me just go and check. And then another guy he’ll be like oh, this is a 2.4 gigahertz, this is a 24 meg processor, you know, all of this other stuff he’s just very passionate and up on it and you want to be that passionate guy, you want to be the guy with all of the answers and turn your Web site into that kind of feel.

John Romaine: Yeah, passion, knowledge and expertise is really important and it’s — that might even come through when I do these Podcasts because I can sort of talk under water with a mouthful of marshmallows about SEO but, you may as well do something that you love, right?

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, 100%. 100%.

John Romaine: So that, I hope, gives listeners a bit of a insight into the difference between cheap SEO services where you’re paying $100 a month and they’re just pressing a button and blasting links all over the place compared to what we’re doing here.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah.

John Romaine: Doing SEO the right way. I mean, we could spend probably two or three hours talking about it more in-depth but —

Byron Trzeciak: I was going to say, it just took us an hour to explain your process John and we’d already be out of business if we were charging $5.00 on Fiverr to do the whole lot of it. We can’t even get through the processing under an hour.

John Romaine: Can’t even explain it in an hour, let alone charge for it.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, exactly.

John Romaine: Yeah, I guess that’s probably it. That’s the simplified version in just one hour. These Podcasts are meant to be 20 minutes long. God, maybe we should have broken it — maybe we should break it up into segments, I don’t know.

Byron Trzeciak: Let’s see what feedback we get if there’s any businesses out there and they want to know a little bit more then fire us a question.

John Romaine: Yeah, get in touch with myself or Byron and you know if you work with us that this stuff is going to be done properly. We don’t muck around, we don’t take shortcuts, we do everything manually by hand. We have our own team members and there’s nothing — there’s no churn and burn going on here.

Byron Trzeciak: We’ve got soft, delicate baby hands don’t we John?

John Romaine: I don’t know, speak for yourself.

Byron Trzeciak: The gentle touch, you know?

John Romaine: Something like that.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah.

John Romaine: All right dude, let’s get out of here.

Byron Trzeciak: Thanks for that. Enjoy your Friday night John.

John Romaine: I will, have a good weekend.

Byron Trzeciak: Yeah, I’ll speak to you soon.

John Romaine: All right, see you Byron.

Byron Trzeciak: See ya.

John Romaine: Bye.

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