After Gert Mellak’s appearance on the show’s last episode, James has decided to keep the SEO train running. So in this guesting, he and Gert will discuss changes made to James’s SEO strategy, and how they’ve revitalized his traffic and that of others that Gert has helped.
They’ll talk about some of Gert’s frustrations with handling other people’s SEO.
They’ll look at the numbers that really count in an effective SEO campaign.
And they’ll speak of the factors that influence ranking and that need consistent monitoring for SEO success.
Table of contents
1. A lack of understanding
2. If they’d talked to Gert earlier…
3. Telling people what doesn’t work
4. Changes in James’s SEO
5. The stuff that really counts
6. Has Google published their criteria?
7. Automated, or manual?
8. How to determine what’s useful
9. How Gert works with his clients
10. The things that help a buyer decide
11. People who left and came back
12. Wrapping up the episode
A lack of understanding
As an SEO expert, Gert has his frustrations. So many people, he says, want to improve their SEO based on inconsistent advice from various sources.
Those who come to him, he says, are often swayed by the latest trends or guru suggestions without understanding the core of SEO.
Gert stresses the importance of seeing SEO as more than a side gig. Instead of chasing after the latest SEO hacks or tactics, genuine results and conversions should be the focus, and a well-defined strategy is crucial.
Gert often encounters clients who list numerous tactics but lack a clear objective for their SEO. James can see how this would be frustrating – people busy themselves with SEO activities, but aren’t necessarily making meaningful progress.
If they’d talked to Gert earlier…
Gert could have saved many companies from making SEO mistakes if they had just consulted him earlier. Many businesses, he says, adopt a specific SEO hack and turn it into a standard operating procedure without evaluating its long-term efficacy or alignment with business goals.
Moreover, SEO by nature is rapidly changing. Gert warns against sticking to outdated methods, noting that some companies have suffered significant financial loss by not adjusting their strategies.
James agrees – while some methods may result in increased traffic or keyword rankings, they don’t always align with meaningful business objectives. He observes, too, that there’s a mix of old and new tactics circulating, adding to the confusion for businesses trying to navigate the SEO landscape.
Telling people what doesn’t work
Advising people in the early stages of what does and doesn’t work SEO-wise can prevent a lot of damage.
At SEO Leverage, Gert and his team provide services like “quick wins reports,” which identify easy-to-achieve improvements and common missteps for a client’s website. Subsequent conversations with clients often revolve around putting them in the right SEO direction, ensuring the content they produce aligns with their goals.
Gert shares an example of a client who spent eight years producing content that didn’t enhance their SEO, underscoring the need for expert guidance in search engine optimization.
Changes in James’s SEO
James reflects on the evolution of his SEO strategies over the years. Originally, his team manually transcribed every podcast episode, believing that the vast amount of written content would be valuable for search engine ranking.
With technological advancements, many of these processes, like transcriptions and timeline points, have become automated, and the earlier strategies became outdated.
Under Gert’s guidance, James shifted to a more modern approach, focusing on producing content, like videos, that target specific key phrases linked to sales. He stresses the importance of not just ranking for any keyword, but for ones that attract the ideal buyer.
The stuff that really counts
James says his website receives significant SEO traffic, which often converts into paying customers, emphasizing the importance of targeted traffic.
Gert knows the challenges of suggesting change to well-established practices, and praises James’s team for being receptive and quick to implement suggested alterations.
Gert also highlights the pitfalls of vanity keywords, emphasizing the need to differentiate between traffic that is simply ego-driven versus traffic genuinely aligned with business goals. He provides an example of a company that attracted a largely mismatched audience due to unfocused content, illustrating the need for the right content to draw the right visitors.
Has Google published their criteria?
James asks Gert whether Google has published their algorithm for SEO agencies.
Google makes frequent, mostly unannounced changes, says Gert. He describes the complexities of SEO using the analogy of “filling buckets.”
There are numerous factors to consider, he says, such as site speed, content, usability, and link structure, but SEO agencies might only be familiar with just a fraction of them. These factors require consistent attention and maintenance as they are always changing.
Automated, or manual?
Is there software to monitor said factors, James asks?
Gert explains that their SEO approach is a combination of both software and human intervention. They have developed an SEO Leverage platform that allows clients to monitor changes and their impact. Alongside the platform, their team of strategists and consultants collaboratively determines which actions will provide the most significant benefits in the coming weeks.
How to determine what’s useful
James wants to know how individuals can differentiate between useful advice and mere noise when exposed to various expert opinions or content online.
Gert stresses the need for clarity on personal or business goals and warns against getting distracted by appealing, but potentially misleading, content or strategies. He further underscores the importance of consulting trusted individuals for feedback and ensuring any new approach aligns with existing strategies.
Lastly, Gert speaks of the value of observing outcomes, recognizing trends, and learning from these patterns, emphasizing consistency over chasing viral success.
How Gert works with his clients
James’s working relationship with Gert is collaborative, with Gert providing guidance and recommendations to James’s team. Their ongoing dynamic involves consistent reevaluation and adaptation based on the results of their strategies.
Gert explains that while many clients now prefer to fully outsource their SEO to his sizable team, some still seek guidance for their in-house teams. This flexible approach caters to both hands-on and hands-off clients.
When asked about the duration of client engagements, Gert says there’s no fixed agreement; they adapt their methodology based on client needs. He creates tailored strategies for clients based on their objectives and where they stand in their SEO journey. The approach is dynamic and revolves around client preferences and requirements.
Regarding confidentiality and expertise, Gert assures that client details remain confidential. While he can discuss general outcomes and strategies in an industry, he avoids connecting potential clients with competitors.
Additionally, even if Gert’s agency works with businesses in similar markets, the unique nature of each website ensures that strategies are bespoke and that the same tactics might yield different results for different brands due to various intrinsic factors.
The things that help a buyer decide
James asks Gert how potential clients can be assured of his agency’s ability to deliver results.
SEO Leverage has case studies available on their website to provide insights and context about their work, says Gert. He also emphasizes the importance of direct conversations. These dialogues allow Gert to understand clients’ objectives and discuss relevant past successes.
However, Gert clarifies that, much as with personal training, SEO results cannot be guaranteed. Building trust is crucial, and some clients follow Gert’s offerings for years before deciding to engage with his services.
People who left and came back
Has Gert ever given advice to a potential client, who then initially decided not to pursue his services, only to return later?
Gert recalls an experience with two women who wanted to sell secondhand children’s clothes. After evaluating their business model, Gert advised that it would not be profitable. They later adjusted their approach, focusing on luxury items, and credited Gert’s feedback for their successful pivot.
James relates a personal experience where he almost entered into a motorcycle dealership venture but was advised against it due to potential financial pitfalls.
Both James and Gert emphasize the value of seeking advice early on to prevent poor business decisions. Gert says he typically engages in initial consultations without significant cost to ensure a good fit for both parties.
Wrapping up the episode
James thanks Gert for consistently delivering results in SEO for both him and his clients. Their partnership has proven successful because of Gert’s expertise and the quality of his work.
James emphasizes as well the importance of a well-planned SEO strategy rather than piecing together fragmented knowledge. He warns especially against associating with dubious SEO providers.
Gert’s parting tip is knowing the direction and purpose of one’s SEO efforts, to avoid wasting resources.
If you’re interested in Gert’s expert services, you’ll find him and his team at SEOLeverage.com.
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