If you’re like most business owners, chasing new customers is a full-time challenge. What if you could have clientele coming to you instead?
SEO consultant Gert Mellak discusses how this can happen, with the help of SEO. If you’ve yet to try search engine optimization, or if you’ve explored it and not gotten results, this episode is for you.
Where are people usually at when they go to an SEO consultant? [02:59]
These are the things that typically hold people back. [05:53]
Once people are in, this is Gert’s SEO process… [09:02]
It’s about being consistent and focusing on the right things. [12:45]
How rewarding is SEO when done right? [17:01]
Getting customers takes time and resources. You’re either exhausted from the effort, or your business is overly dependent on paid traffic, which, says James, can be risky.
James has seen SEO work this magic in his own business. With help from SEO consultant Gert, they’ve ranked first for a phrase that attracts prospects who perfectly match James’s skill set. The prospect runs a search, James’s business comes up, and they come to him.
Do customers already have some traffic going?
Now, when people approach Gert, do they already have some sort of traffic source going?
Many of their clients, says Gert, have been very successful with Facebook ads, Google ads, maybe YouTube. But in the last quarter of the year, ad spend can be crazy, so much so that some people have to stop their ads for lack of ROI.
Also, while Facebook ads can be simple, they come with their own set of potential problems. Facebook might shut down your account, or something might affect how your ads run, or your audience might suffer ad fatigue.
This is when many people consider SEO.
James agrees there’s a case for paid traffic on multiple platforms, something discussed a lot on the show. But the big point is that people with a working paid traffic campaign usually ignore SEO completely, until their paid traffic no longer works.
What he has done with Gert’s help is established an investment in SEO for the long haul. He pays Gert for input and interaction with his team, and he pays his team to do the SEO point work. There’s an outlay up front, but what he now has as a result is a high-profit margin business that doesn’t really need paid traffic.
The typical barriers to starting with SEO
So what usually gets in people’s way when it comes to starting SEO, aside from the upfront cost?
There’s probably more complexity involved in people’s minds than actually exists, says Gert. People come to him on the fence about SEO. Their ads work sometimes better, sometimes worse, but they do bring in clients. So how does this SEO thing work?
Gert tells them they need dedicated resources, ideally an assistant or writer who can maintain their website and work hand-in-hand with Gert and his team. Sometimes SEO Leverage will handle all of the execution, but they at least need someone who can approve content and provide information.
Gert and his team really need an occasional call, some feedback, someone who can essentially work with them, where they can either guide the SEO process, or get some guidance from the client in order to work their SEO.
There’s definitely a lot of doubts involved in what it actually means to run an SEO campaign. And Gert’s team do a lot of upfront education about the process, which takes a while to start running. But like a car, once it’s in motion, you just need to dedicate resource to keep it going.
Then you’ll see Google picking up on new content, you’ll see internal linking working out, and eventually leads and then sales will come in.
“What’s missing for most businesses is they’re not actually keeping an eye on SEO.”
And if you’ve got things in motion, says James, and you have been building the right structure, addressing site speed and getting links back, small changes can have dramatic impact. What’s missing for most businesses is, one, they’re not actually keeping an eye on it. Two, they’re not even thinking of SEO as something that could supplement, even replace, their other traffic campaigns.
Once people have decided it’s the thing to do….
So when someone realizes the time and commitment needed to build momentum, and when they’ve decided to commit resource to SEO, what steps will Gert take them through?
They have a specific onboarding process, says Gert, that they’ve refined over the years. And they spend a lot of time initially in getting to know a customer’s business from the client’s perspective. Ultimately, they’re in search marketing, which means they need to know how a target audience searches.
With a law firm, for instance, they need to know how future clients are going to search on the internet, where they could come across the firm’s content, and then make a decision to opt in for something, download something, get in touch with them.
And it’s important that all four or five people on Gert’s team know exactly what such a target client is like, what they search for, how they ask questions on the internet.
They have a couple of calls with every new client. In the first call, they aim to 100 percent understand who the client is trying to target. On the second call, Gert explains back to the client what he understands they are trying to achieve, and what he thinks their SEO strategy should be in order to reach people in search. Once they’re okay with it, then they have an overall umbrella over the entire SEO strategy.
Then, says Gert, they start with what they call an ERICA framework approach. This is a framework Gert has developed after a few years of refinement, where they make sure that every couple of weeks, they touch on everything that’s important in SEO. Because SEO is not just one title tag or one link. It’s a whole series of things.
You could say it’s holistic, says James.
Absolutely, Gert says. Just like fitness is not simply eating a carrot a day, but involves nutrition, movement, sleep and other components of health.
Consistency and knowing what’s important
And there’s the long-term side of it, says James, where, like a garden, it needs SEO maintenance to prevent weeds taking over and plants dying.
Gert agrees. He’s many times seen resources and money wasted because people think SEO is set and forget. They’ll point to their WordPress plugin where every box is ticked, or to their Yoast where everything is green. SEO, he says, is really much more than that. It’s a strategic focus.
And SEO doesn’t mean every single article will rank high on your website. Articles have different purposes. Some will document a podcast episode. Others turn people into leads by offering an ebook download. Others are just there for social media engagement, but are never intended for search.
What’s important is figuring out the articles that actually drive the right people into your funnel. And this is where SEO Leverage’s application comes in – it strips out everything unneeded from Google Analytics and Google search console, and focuses on where people come into the website, and how they convert.
“The focus is really identifying what is really important for conversions.”
Then it becomes easy to pinpoint the articles that drive conversions, that bring in the right people. And in the app, they can determine what terms people use to reach those websites, and consider making more content around those terms. The focus is really identifying what is important for conversions, and having someone who monitors it consistently and points you to the five, six, or 10 URLs that make a difference.
It was shocking, says James, to discover how much of his blog’s content wasn’t useful. And then they had to prune and cut back and make feature posts. But when you understand what it is that you’re trying to do, and you’ve got someone who’s showing you the data, he says, it makes sense, and the results speak for themselves.
One article they had, about nine years old, was still getting a fair bit of traffic, and Gert recommended updating it. They did, added a video, and updated the publishing date as well. It was just the shot in the arm it needed for Google to reward the content.
How much do you stand to gain?
Now James and Gert have laid out this idea that customers can actually come to you on an ongoing basis. It just requires a content audit, a long-term commitment, and someone to regularly and consistently do what’s needed. How rewarding can it be to have all this in place?
It’s extremely rewarding, says Gert, once you start ranking for interesting terms in your industry, and once you see those rankings bring in traffic that converts, that asks for proposals, that gets in touch, books calls, and eventually buys.
Gert has worked a lot, for instance, with Shopify sites. One site was simply listing products. Gert and his team brought more context to those products with informational descriptions. Suddenly, prospects were noting those details in their research, and from that research going on to buy. This was big for an e-commerce site.
It’s really all about, first of all, making sure they have the status quo on the website, usually done with an audit, where they go through the website, make sure they have a solid technical foundation and no roadblocks for Google to index and properly understand how the site is structured.
Then from there, they build momentum, making sure they have the data tracking in place, and can actually understand what kind of traffic brings certain kinds of results. And sometimes it’s even Gert making suggestions for opt-ins, in order to drive more of the right traffic.
They very often also give conversion optimization tips. They just did this on a website, and it immediately jumped about 30 percent in conversions, just by putting a few extra buttons here and there and making sure they actually leveraged the content built up over time.
That’s where James has gotten the biggest results with least effort, when Gert sees something James and his team are missing, and points them in the right direction.
If any of this interests you and you’d like to get in touch with Gert, he and his team can be found at SEOLeverage.com.
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