What is a holistic SEO strategy? And how do you leverage Google to boost your SEO while using current strategies and technologies?
Joining me for this conversation is Gert Mellak, the founder and CEO of SEOLeverage.com – an SEO agency that helps course creators, coaches and e-commerce sites grow their SEO in a conversion-focused way.
Gert is also the author of the book “The ERICA Framework”, in which he describes his consistent, conversion-driven way of approaching SEO, which has led to clients sticking to his consulting program for years, while steadily improving their results.
Gert gives listeners actionable tips on:
- [1:30] How the digital marketing industry has evolved over the last 20 years
- [3:05] How user behavior has changed over time
- [6:50] How to make content more ‘search-friendly’
- [9:30] The importance of content structure and design
- [13:35] How to look at SEO from a conversion perspective
- [19:40] How to leverage your competitor’s rankings and use it towards your benefit
- [24:10] The two types of SEO and how to use them
- [29:35] Leveraging change as your industry and the market changes
- [31:30] Gert’s book recommendation
- [36:25] One SEO tip that works every time
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Connect with Gert here:
Connect with me
[00:00:27] Gert: Hi, I’m, uh, I get from SEO leverage.com, founder and CEO of the agency, and I’m really happy to be here. Thank you so much. Thank you
[00:00:35] Karin: for being here, Garrett. I’m excited to talk to you. I know we have, we’ve been talking a lot about SEO over the last this, during this quarter and strategy and all of these different things, and so I know we have a lot to talk about, but this is going to be a good one.
Bringing all the pieces together, how to think of it in bigger terms instead of just that. I, I feel like a lot of people think of it in a real narrow focus. Um, and so the title for the show today that we’re gonna be talking about, and the question we’re going to answer is, what is a holistic SEO strategy?
Mm-hmm. . So thank you for being here. I know you’ve had years and years of SEO experience. Mm-hmm. . So first of all, that’s gotta be. Interesting to see the history of Google and uh, I know I’ve been doing this for, it feels like forever as well, and it was really a different thing in the beginning, wasn’t
[00:01:28] Gert: it?
It was absolutely different. I really like the holistic approach you have for this show because I have been doing pretty much everything in digital marketing I think in the last 20 years. Um, and actually I had to Google what SEO meant 20 years ago. Yeah. , which is a funny story. I was in, I was in New York, I remember, uh, doing some.
Yeah. Trying, trying to improve my English work, some summer jobs, et cetera. Yeah. And then I heard about this s u thing and I was, I was doing some web design and stuff like that, and I was like, yeah, it sounds like central related. And I had to open up Google, type in seo, see what is actually meant, what are they talking about?
This is really, yeah, this is really cool. Right. This is really cool. And then I started just learning this and it was very, very different at the beginning and especially in Europe. We were far behind the US there. Uh, SEO was just starting out for the really big companies there. Um, now based in Spain and Spain.
Many people back then didn’t even have a website or think about getting one, so it was a really. Really good time, but a little bit the wild, wild west I guess. Yeah. Uh, when it came to search marketing, a lot of things worked back then that are not working anymore, and this is where we get so many clients from like 10, 15 years ago.
Yes. That we had big success back then that now need to relearn how to present themselves on search. Yeah.
[00:02:40] Karin: You know, let’s spend a minute on that because I also have a lot of clients who basically they figured one thing. 10 or 12 years ago. Mm-hmm. . And same with their website. You know, they, they did it once and then they were like, okay, we’re good.
Let’s, let’s move on to, you know, and let’s just leave that over in the corner. . Mm-hmm. . And it’s not like a fine wine. It does not competitor with age. . . So, um, so let’s talk about like, what are these things that are completely different that some people are still kind of focused on that we did 10 years ago that really don’t matter anymore?
[00:03:19] Gert: I think what’s so, what’s so funny, and I really like this question, uh, it’s. We, we tend to believe every, everybody reacts the same way over time, right? Yes. Everybody behaves the same way. And if we just, um, remember what 10 years ago looked like 15 years ago, looked like the, the way we engaged with social media, the way we were researching stuff, the way we consuming content.
We just need to realize that. our, our requirements just increased, right? I’m not happy with the title and the text anymore. I want images, I want visuals. I want to skim the text. I don’t want to read it. I expect the video. But if I don’t want the video, I want to still be able to consume this content. I want to do this on the go with Starbucks and really jump to the section I’m interested in.
I might have an audio, um, Reading this to me or summarizing or Now with artificial intelligence, everything gets more fun, so suddenly you don’t even have to read. Maybe you just get the extracts here that our behavior has changed a lot and what many people don’t realize it, but Google is that Google really only wants to make the Google user happy.
Yes. Right? Yeah. They don’t care about a lot of things and it. I would say really easy to make a Google user happy 10, 15 years ago. Yeah. Whereas today we have no time, no attention span. We are on the go on our mobile device pretty much all the time. So it has been becoming a real challenge for Google.
Yeah. And this is where we just need to understand the way, with the way we consume content changes the way we present content also needs to. Yes.
[00:04:53] Karin: I think one really good example that I was thinking of while you were talking that didn’t even occur to me, and I definitely, it was not part of my, um, daily existence 10 years ago, is that when I’m watching a short video, so whether it’s a reel on Instagram or TikTok or whatever, I never have my sound on, so I need to.
Uh, the transcription. I need to have the, the words overlaid, or I’m gonna move on and find a different video that mm-hmm. that does, and I have no patience for it. I just instantly think, okay, you’ve completely missed my attention. Mm-hmm. , and I’m moving on. I, I’m not gonna sit here and turn my sound on and make it easy.
I’m gonna move on. And 10 years ago, first of all, I, there was no TikTok and we were not even looking at these short form videos like this mm-hmm. , like it was a completely different world. And so not only were we, did we not have those videos, but we weren’t thinking about transcribing them and having the mm-hmm.
uh, not the transcription, the, the subtitles is what I mean. Mm-hmm. .
[00:05:53] Gert: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. And this is also something that reminds me of podcasters these days. Yeah. So very often when we have a podcast, we have a podcast at SEO Leverage as well. We are very proud about our show, right? Yeah. Proud of our show.
We were proud of our audio. We put a lot of effort into editing and the intro and the outro and all those kinds of things. But then when we want to rank our episodes, we need to realize that a lot of people who type in a search in Google, they’re not looking for an episode, they’re looking for a summary.
They’re looking for a written version. They’re looking for a video for graphics, for visuals, et cetera. Exactly. So very often we need to kind of step back, take our ego a little bit out of. Yep. And so what is the best for the user? Because if, if what I’m giving is not best for the user, I’m definitely not going to rank
[00:06:36] Karin: it.
Yeah. And exactly like, you know, same thing, we spend all this time on the song and the sounds that go behind and that stuff, it’s nice and it. Definitely, you know, increases the appearance of it being professional and everything, but that has nothing to do with what people are looking for and how they’re going to search.
So what’s one example of how you would take, uh, let’s just use a podcast, uh, episode as an example, and how would you break down that content to be more search friendly?
[00:07:06] Gert: Absolutely. Um, a podcast for me is just another blog post. Yes. Right. Just with the add-on that there is an audio and possibly a video recording.
Let’s look at at what the normal structure is of podcast episodes. Most, probably 99 out of a hundred podcasts. Follow this structure, we have a title. We have a big video, a big player, all the icons to, to follow this podcast, and then sometime somewhere after one or two screens scrolling down. We have like probably short show notes, like with minute indications, maybe a transcription.
And that’s pretty much it. And what we expect people is to type in a search about this episode, which might even an not an be answering anything. So very often we just record something that doesn’t answer anything. Right? Yeah. Uh, then they come to this page. We expect them to either watch the video, dedicate.
40 minutes to watch this video, um, or listen to the audio or send this to their email so they can then listen to this. We expect a lot of things or we expect them to scroll down and actually be very, very engaged and happily reading a transcription, however, often have you read a transcription in your life.
I remember one time. One time my wife was asleep. It was 11:00 PM It was 11:00 PM I really wanted to get the gist of this episode. Exactly. I read its transcription. It was the worst experience ever. Exactly.
[00:08:30] Karin: My equivalent is like, I was, uh, sitting next to a newborn and like there is no way I was gonna turn anything with sound on, but there was one little gem that I.
Somewhere in the middle of that podcast. And same, same thing, like I was scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and they’re going through the transcription. I was like, this is ridiculous. .
[00:08:52] Gert: Absolutely. And this is ultimately when we, when we look at a podcast just as another piece of content on our blog, everything changes, right?
So if I come to this page, we have a structure we we have for clients in our consult. , uh, program. But what we essentially try to make them see is that a good structure is like a title and maybe an opening sentence or two. Some key takeaways. What am I going to learn on this article? A table of contents, Wikipedia, nud this 20 years ago.
A table of contents is a good idea. Uh, and one of those items in the table of contents might be video recording. The last one. So if somebody sees the table of contents, wants to watch a video, they can jump through the video and watch it. Everybody else is going to follow the normal structure you would follow on a blog post.
So you would have your subsections, you would have your visualizations, you would have your internal links, bold, highlighting, whatever makes this article engaging. And this really brings me to a point that’s just so important. It’s content design. We have increas. websites performance by 20 30% just by focusing on content design on the way, how we present something and how we engage users while presenting the content in a structured way.
This is a huge point and very often when we come to a site that has like this, I would, I call it like all the traditional format of title and intro and text, and maybe an image on top, and that’s it. We, we, we are kind of really happy because this is an easy win, right? . It’s an easy win. It just takes a while because we need to take all those pieces that answer something in search and refresh them.
We call this a refresh. Yeah, we refresh them, rewrite them a little bit, make sure this is really nicely designed. And the client is going to be happy. Agency. Happy, everybody happy.
[00:10:31] Karin: Okay. So let’s, so how, what are some of those things that you do when you’re looking at that content to redesign it? Is it, is it something, some things along the lines that you were describing where you have that table of content, some things like that?
[00:10:43] Gert: Mm-hmm. , absolutely. But we would also look for redundancies. We would look for fluff, really get this out. We want to present the best user value. Right? Yeah. We were in a time, and I think, I believe Facebook has done a lot of damage to the. in a sense, let me explain this. Yeah. in a sense that we, we kind of felt forced, and I include myself here, when we had the general agency back then, we felt forced to produce content on our block to have something to share.
Yeah. Because nobody wanted to share something from the competitors. Right. We were so important. We wanted to have our own stuff. So we literally had a writer produce something similar every single week. Yeah. And maybe. Just to share this, what we have created this way is a lot of content with very low value.
Yes. So in the content, the writer doesn’t know any anymore how to should, after 10 years write about office petitions that just really don’t know. Right. , uh, it’s, I really admire those people that have been doing this for so long. So now it’s the time where we prune. We just literal. Cut off 80% of the traffic for a client of ours, just because it was not relevant.
Yes, I, I said, look, even if it’s still ranking, it’s so irrelevant. No conversions happening. Nothing good comes out of this. Let’s cut the traffic. Take a loss in traffic. Now there’s skyrocketing conversions. ,
[00:11:59] Karin: and I think it’s important to clarify that yes, you’re taking this cut in traffic, but like you said, this is non-functioning traffic.
So this is not just like traffic in a positive way. That’s a lot of people look at a number that has to do with traffic and think, oh, that’s good. It’s a waste of time, essentially. It’s a waste of money. And it’s, it’s basically like a clog in your drain. It is getting in the way of getting to all the good stuff.
[00:12:25] Gert: Absolutely. And it’s, it’s really so important to clients. See. That everything that goes on the website needs to advance the sales somehow. Yeah. Right. We should not become, and it’s very easy to become like an online magazine about my industry. Right? Yeah. Because I know so much about this industry. I can talk about this industry, we can talk about AEO for, for a week.
Sure. Probably day and night, and no problem at all. It’s only a fraction of this is going to help somebody make a decision if they want to do a consulting or a site audit with us or not. Right? Yeah. So once we, once we shrink this down, strip everything away, that’s really. Two generic fluff and yeah, and not really valuable.
Then we have like a nice foundation and then we can still build it out and say, okay, based on this foundation, let’s now take a few questions that come up as content. Let’s now look at this from a different angle. Let’s make the of the top. Most important elements, et cetera. So there is going to be enough material, but there is no value in 2023 and and beyond.
Definitely in having useless, fluff generic stuff around my industry on the website, that’s only going to bring in useless in the relevant traffic. This is why we actually focus on conversions. I really want make want to make sure that people who come to the. Actually at least part of this, take the next
[00:13:37] Karin: step.
Okay. I think that ties perfectly into this big picture idea that we have. Mm-hmm. . So when a lot of people are looking at seo, they get really narrowly focused on basically that traffic number. So that number that we were talking about before, which is really a vanity metric and it doesn’t have to do with the conversions that you’re talking about.
You know, you can have a bajillion people coming to your site or you know, last month we. Finance person come in and the equivalent is your top line number. You can have a 10 million law firm, but if you’re spending 15 million to make that 10 million, it doesn’t matter you’re in the hole. So same thing with your SEO traffic.
You can have, you know, a million people coming to your website, but if they’re all from Bangladesh and then zero are potential clients, then it’s a waste of time and money. So coming back to our big question. Holistic SEO and mm-hmm. . So how do you look at this in a bigger picture in terms of like the end result being that conversion and looking at all of your different marketing channels and all of the different marketing efforts that you’re putting into, and how do you, uh, put that together in terms of a strategy?
[00:14:47] Gert: Um, first of all, I want to, we, we are, I’m very big. on explaining the why to every single client, right? Yeah. I understand. Everybody comes about their industry, um, from the industry and don’t want to, don’t know the details. This is why they come to us. But I try to really hold everybody’s hand in the sense that they say, look, this is, this is what’s happening.
What does this mean? Right? And what we see very often is that clients are, like you say, they focus on traffic. And I’m saying, is this website working? Um, I had a client literally open up the browser, show me the website and say, look, this is. . Um, and then we said, okay, now let’s, let’s look a little bit, uh, deeper and, and see, see what does, what does it mean if a website works?
If a website works for me as an seo, this means it drives people in that are very interested in what I’m selling. Yes. And then, um, very often we come across websites that have a few articles driving major traffic that have nothing to do with the actual business model. So we want to raise awareness and say, why do I have so much traffic?
Right? So first of all, Making sure the tracking is in place and having the client understand that this traffic is not useful because this traffic does not lead to people asking you, downloading something, inquiring anything, et cetera. And most of them leave anyway after, after a few seconds, right? So this is why where we saw a lot of transparency and once we know what’s happening, we definitely.
Like go a little bit broader and say, okay, where is, are we present right now? Is this YouTube what’s working there really well? Very often we get a lot of insights for SEO from a YouTube channel where we just assess what are those videos that are doing really well that lead to a lot of engagement where we know clients even refer to this video and say, this was really the reason why they joined.
There’s a lot of information in that. Yeah. Second channel, really important for us, Google. Google Ads, whoever is running Google Ads has a lot of information without them knowing it. That can be transferred to seo. Pretty much telling which kind of keywords should we focus on in seo because we already know from Google Ads that those are good keywords to rank for.
Right? Social media again, which kinds of posts? Seem to resonate more, which kind of post get more engagement, really lead to, to people following you, lead to people engaging with you, little people hiring you, purchasing your services. A lot of just looking at those topics and what was actually talked about and the angle you had.
It is a lot of, um, intel we can use for content marketing. Yeah. But this also works vice versa. Very often we are going to, we are the ones that inform a podcasting process, for example. And we tell our clients, say, look, these would be good topics to talk about every topic in a podcast. Why? Because we know we are answering something A lot of people search for.
Yeah. , you have a good presentation with an with additional multimedia support, with a video, with a podcast episode, et cetera. So we can leverage this as well. We can inform Google Ads, we can inform social media and say, look, this works well in seo. Let’s try this in social media as well. So those channels work really, really well together.
Yeah, and once you run ads, you can even amplify. If you have written a good post, you can amplify it on social media, which might even attract links. To your website afterwards because people like this content, they discover it on social media, but then might link to it from their own platforms.
[00:18:01] Karin: Yeah. I feel like that’s such a healthy way to start the entire, um, if you’ve got a firm that’s, that hasn’t really done seo and they, they, but they do have these other channels and to start that initial work is to look at all this data and like you’re saying, there’s intel and all these different avenues to see.
What is working, where are the people coming from now? Mm-hmm. , and how can we take that information and really boost it instead of just trying to go, uh, in, in left field? And there’s a lot of firms we’ve worked with where their SEO people aren’t talking to the social media, who aren’t talking to the website, and no one’s talking to anyone, and they’re all doing, you know, it’s almost like they’re working against each other because they’re not, definitely not working.
[00:18:46] Gert: Absolutely. This is when, when people are just really trying to, to match their own KPIs. Yeah. Where we rather try to match our clients pick KPIs and say, look, what would be a good conversion number? What could you handle? What, where do you want to go? We have a client who said, yeah, this year we want to double, how can we do this?
Right? Yeah. And now, now I connect and say, look, if you’re now at 2000 and you want 4,000, this would be a roadmap how you can get there. Yeah. And then I can have as an seo, a conversation with a social media person or with a. Specialist and we can discuss, okay, what can we do in order to support you? What do you have in terms of data that could support us?
Ultimately, if everybody works together to get this client, this result, everybody’s happy and we are going to keep the retainer, which ultimately for an agency, is not unimportant. Right, exactly. So we just, we just want to get those results. But if you don’t like cross pollinate a little bit with information, you’re just leaving a lot of potential on.
[00:19:40] Karin: And then also how do you, I know you talk a lot about leveraging your competitor’s rankings. Mm-hmm. , how do you take a look at what your competitors are doing and use that towards zero benefit?
[00:19:49] Gert: Two ways here. One is very, very simple, but nobody does it, which is actually just typing in a search phrase into Google and seeing what comes up.
Yeah. There is a reason why your competitor is number. and another competitors number two, and another one is number three. And, and you might be coming up on page two or page three. There is a reason and very often it has to do either with, uh, their authority because a lot of people refer to them. They have just been in this industry for a long time, have been mentioned everywhere and have links.
From other websites pointed to them, but very often it’s also the, because they just connect the dots for Google, I talk about this.to.game. My children play where they connect dot number one to two, to three to four, and now it’s a category dog. Yeah. Um, if you miss a few points, This cat might only have one ear
Right. And it, and it’s, it’s just really hard to recognize. And at the same time, when there is, when there is a website that, that pretty much became an online magazine. They have so many dots on the page that Google can figure it out. Yeah. So we, we just want, we, we want to, we want to help goo people figure this out.
And this is, Where It’s fascinating for me, Google wants to, to make us every, all believe that SEO has no point. It’s all about ads. You have to pay for visibility, et cetera. Yes. And they can just figure everything out. We have the data. We run experiments on a regular basis. We have the data to bake it up, but they are still depending on certain words on the page.
Yeah. They’re still depend on certain topics and subtopics being mentioned just because this is, this weighs how we draw this cat and how we make sure it has a tail and it actually makes.
[00:21:25] Karin: I love that. It’s so, it’s so clear to me. I’m such a visual thinker. Then as soon as I saw it, I was like, oh yeah, this is such a good way to explain it.
Mm-hmm. , because all of a sudden it’s like you’re making the dots, but all of a sudden you’re, it’s half cat, half fish, and you’re telling Google totally confusing and conflicting information. There’s so many different directions you can go with this analogy, but it’s like, make sure you’re clear. On your cat or whatever your picture is that you’re telling them.
And if all of a sudden you start sending Google all this strange information that doesn’t really relate to your practice areas or, you know, I have clients oftentimes who will say, okay, when I’m writing my bio, should I talk about the fact that I have cats or you know, all of this kind of personal information to let my clients know about me.
And I always tell them, . Has anyone who’s ever come into your office ever asked you about your cats ? Like, do the people who are searching for you care about that? Because if they don’t forget about it. And so if you’re all of a sudden putting this information out there and yeah, it’s information, it’s data and it’s content and it’s doing all the things a lot of people are sort of talking about, but it’s irrelevant.
then that’s also not connecting the dots and making that clear picture for Google.
[00:22:38] Gert: Absolutely. It’s just putting more dots on it. Like, like this client that we had with the 80% drop, we literally removed a lot of dots that were on this page to make it easy to connect the remaining ones. Yeah, and if you just think about a topic like email marketing, right?
Everybody knows email marketing subject lines are important. Yeah. Right. Imagine you talk about what is email marketing and you just don’t mention this topic of subject lines. Right. It happens. It happens every single day. We see this, right? Yeah. Not necessarily with email marketing, but every single day we, we see a site.
I remember a site in Australia from an internet connection provider. They call this 5g high speed data connection mobile. I don’t know what, yeah, they didn’t call this in an internet connection, . It happens, it’s automatically, it’s, it’s just so obvious that you don’t see it. Right? Until you have an, an agency applying some tools, because this day you’re thankful.
We have tools we don’t do with this, with my handwritten notes anymore, like 10, 20 years ago, right? Uh, but now we have tools that say, Hey, this, this important term everybody else is mentioning. , but you happen to not talk about the internet connection. Can we, can we kind of put this word on the page?
Because it might be related somehow to your internet connection service, provider service. Right. So, and, and this happens every single day, and it’s really hard. We, we just get like, like a little bit industry blind where we just say we, we are in there every, every single day. We just don’t see these concepts.
Yeah. And you need to run the comparison. You need to compare. Where is, where are you, where is the competitor, uh, where are the competitors? How, how can you bridge the gap between those two? Yeah. And very often this is based on what you have on the page. Yeah.
[00:24:15] Karin: So then there, while we’re talking about different channels and how to use your different marketing channels to really, uh, work together and make a more holistic and healthy.
Marketing plan, one piece of which is seo. There’s different types of SEO too, right? I mean there’s mm-hmm. , like you can look at the technical side of seo. You can look at content seo. There’s local seo, so when people come and talk initially just about. SEO in general. Um, how many different types are there?
What should they be thinking about and should they be kind of thinking about it in, in, um, different sections or how do you think about that? Also in a holistic way, but which pieces should, should people be thinking about too?
[00:24:58] Gert: Mm-hmm. . Um, first of all, we probably would roughly categorize certain businesses in local eo.
Yeah. Like a local car repair shop, Mike, local drag. Local lawyer who is only. Uh, working with people in their surroundings. This is a local business. A local business in Google works a little bit differently than a national e-commerce site, for example, right? Yeah. E-commerce would be another block, for example, and then probably I would see the rest, although we can still have some subgroups, right?
But if, if this is, uh, for a lawyer for example, we will definitely look into local you. How can we make them the most relevant lawyer in. Town in their city and for their specialty. If this is immigration, how can we connect the dots around immigration law in. Missouri for this particular lawyer, right?
Yeah. So there are local references. There are probably authorities we can, we can see if they want to link to us. There are, there’s a lot of content we can build up. There are authority bodies we can cite, et cetera. So there’s a lot, a lot of things. We have Google My Business, uh, Google Business Profile, I think they call this right now.
Yeah. And change the name on a regular basis to make this fund. Just to confuse us . Just to confuse us. Yeah. But this is a really important part as well. So we really want to. Break things down and say, okay, we only are relevant in our surroundings. Right? So we are not looking for traffic from Australia. If we are a lawyer in Missouri, we really want to make sure that we are the best lawyer in Missouri, and if tomorrow we are in Southern California, we are going to do this again for this new location.
Yeah, right. This is really, really important. So this also impacts the strategy. Every site we start working with usually goes through a site. So this is really where we, five, six people on the team, um, really go through the site inside out, look at everything from content, from the use experience, from the links that point to the site, the links that point from one page to the other one, et cetera.
This is an in-depth thing, um, but just make sure that everybody’s on the same page. When it comes to the status and a roadmap and action plan and priorities, what should be done first? What is, what is the gap? Where are competitors, where we are not, and now let’s draft the plan where to go next. Yeah. Okay.
So this is really important. And then when it comes to, to rankings with aco, very often we, we say here we, we are, we have got like 30 different bucket. To fill, right? There is a bucket for site speed. There is a bucket for content. There is a bucket for user experience, right? There is another one for internal links, for external links, et cetera.
Yeah. And we try to keep all of them full, right? Right. But there’s a whole, there’s a hole in the bucket in each one. Right. So we need to consistently revise speed. We need to consistently revise content. User experience might have changed because we have ends installed a. , we might need to build up new content because now the content gap is bigger.
Yeah. So we have like a set of things that need to be consistently revised. And this is just back to your question. This is where very often the cross-channel platform then comes in. Yeah. Where we say, Hey, these competitors getting a lot of traffic through these keywords. Can we test them in Google ads and see if they actually convert before we now build up 20 articles to rank for.
Or before we spend money on link billing, can we have, do we have any intel from social media that will prove that this is a good way to go down? Can we just launch a post and see if this gets the same engagement as everything else? We have on the side and now we see this topic definitely has value in our audience, in our area in Missouri, then let’s build this out.
Right? And this is where the, where it’s just, it’s just fun to, to look at this like an entire project and say, okay, SEO is one pillar. I’m an seo. I’ve been doing SEO for 20 years. I’m very well aware there are other channels. Yeah. And every channel has their value. I’m far from, far from saying everybody should do seo.
Nothing else. Right On the contr. But we want to see that SEO definitely is one of the channels with the highest return on investment. For two reasons. Yes. One is we don’t pay for clicks, but for the work getting this visibility. And the second is that users who do not click on ads, But find things for themselves tend to convert better because they have a feeling that they did their own research.
They weren’t impacted with, I don’t know what we did in, in Facebook at the worst moment ever. And, and 20 times afterwards they have set si, set aside a few minutes of their time to search for something. Research, make the decision. and then take action. And these clients tend to be the best ones. Yeah. They just
[00:29:33] Karin: trust that process a little bit more than, you know, you trust the process when you click on an ad.
So do you have a short answer for why there is always. A hole in the bucket and a hole in, across all of those buckets that you were describing because mm-hmm. , I think, I think there isn’t, uh, when I try to describe that, I, I end up, you know, I don’t have a short answer for that , so I’m wondering if you, if you can kind of, and maybe it’s a not short answer, but a medium sized answer, but why is there always a hole in each of those bucket?
[00:30:04] Gert: because change is the only constant thing in business. Yes. Everything changes. That’s it. Everything changes, right?
[00:30:10] Karin: Yeah. That’s the short answer. ,
[00:30:12] Gert: every, everything, everything changes and we are not alone. Right. So I’m always laughing when those hsda or agencies, uh, guarantee a top top three ranking. Yes. And you definitely find five or more agency guaranteeing there.
Even if it was true, it was, I would like to have these people on the table and talk, talk about this, because the math doesn’t end up right. So always, there’s always change in place. Always everybody trying the same thing that you are trying. Yep. So it’s a moving target. You just need to adjust. You need to adjust.
And also your website isn’t always stable. Your hosting might have an issue. Right. Um, your audience suddenly reacts differently. Google suddenly wants to rank a different kind of, Website that’s more mobile optimized or less, or mobile optimized or whatever it is, or has a different phone size, we need to stay on top and it’s not easy.
I would say probably impossible. If you have enough work to, to pay the bills, you probably don’t have enough time to stay on top of this yourself. .
[00:31:09] Karin: Exactly. Oh, that’s a perfect answer. I love that. I’m definitely like putting that down on a post-it right next to my computer. Cause I feel like that’s it.
That’s what it comes down to. Change is the only constant. So, uh, not just in business, I feel like in life in general, , I mean, but that’s a bigger question. absolutely. Okay, so it is time for the book review, and I know you’ve got a really good one. I’m excited about this. Uh mm-hmm. as compared to some of some, so, so first, before I kind of blow the surprise, what is the book recommendation that you have for our audience
[00:31:39] Gert: today?
Okay. Book recommendation is Workless Make More by James Re Cook. Okay.
[00:31:44] Karin: And what is te, tell us a little bit about it.
[00:31:46] Gert: Absolutely. So, uh, definitely I, I like this book because I have a personal, uh, relation to James. He has been mentoring me for quite a few years. Oh, awesome. And part of his group have been for several years and worked with a lot of his clients there as well.
Um, so he brought out this book, uh, a few years after I started working with him. And it’s pretty much the summary of everything I’ve learned in the last eight. Oh, nice. In, in this, in this summary. So, and this is really, it’s, it’s a general business. I tend to read at the beginning of every year since, since it came out.
Okay. Because it kind of, there’s always something I could improve because it just walks you through the process from, from marketing to team, to running your business, to staying out of the day-to-day operations as a business owner to all kinds of optimizations and really with this, a little bit against the grain as he usually is.
where it’s not about 80 hour grinding works. Yeah. But where he says, look, everything comes with a cost, right? Yes. And if you work eight hour, 80 hours, look at your family, your friends, your relationships, your health, et cetera. And, and this is what I like about his approach, where I say, look, you can really work few hours if you add more leverage to your business decisions.
And actually end up making more revenue, or at least the revenue that supports your lifestyle.
[00:33:01] Karin: What I like, I haven’t read the book, but what I like just about the title itself is that I’m sure you’re familiar with the four Hour work, the four Hour Work Week book, and uh, I, years ago had some friends, we had a book club and we read that and what, what bothered me and my friends about that book is that the goal is not necessarily.
To work four hours. And it was kind of a misrepresentation I felt, because a lot of it was about just working less, having a better team, being more efficient, getting systems in place. And so just the title alone, I feel like, is a better title than the four hour work week because it, it kind of gets more to what most people’s goals are it, which is to just work less.
It’s not necessarily, I only wanna work four hours this week, it’s, I wanna. less so that I have a better kind of work life balance and all of those good things and whatever that means, and however I can get there. It sounds like there’s some good strategies in there that that kind of align with that idea.
[00:34:03] Gert: Absolutely. I, I guess the four hour work work was definitely polarizing enough and put Twofers on a map. On a map much better than probably a work less, make more wood would possibly have. And the TrackX is definitely a wider audience. It’s funny that whoever I talk with, this was pretty much the book probably that kicked us every, everybody off.
Yes. , uh, on the, on this road of Biling out our business. Um, What I, what I really like about this approach is just if you, if you really think about your business rather than from an, from an aspect of, of growing like crazy, think about it from an aspect of making this a business you could potentially sell at some point.
Yep. and just put everything in place that this can work without you. Yesterday, just yesterday I heard someone on the podcast. So you really don’t know your profit margins unless you, until you pay someone to do your job. Yes. In your business, then you see what’s actually left. Right. Who are you, how much do you have to pay for someone who does your 60, 70, 80 hour job?
Yeah. Every single week with one or two weeks leave and, uh, every year. Uh, what is left after this? So if you start building out your business this way, and this is definitely what James, um, focus has always been. He always said like a book, good business to sell us a book, good business to keep. Yeah. Where you say, like, when it’s, when you’re able to sell your business, this is a business where you can actually go on vacation for a few months, right.
And the business is going to be better off afterwards than Yes. Than when you left. Yes. So this is like the, this is like the goal, right? And then just from this focus I can. Start building blocking out time in your schedule for the really important things in life. Like I have my afternoons blocked for my kids.
I have my weekends free. I have Fridays for me to work on some focus work, et cetera. This all came really in the last years. and I definitely have to create teams for a lot of this and, and absolutely the book is a great recommendation. And
[00:35:51] Karin: here’s the last thing. So I won’t drag on too much long about this book, but I really believe I, cause I’ve been doing a similar thing the last couple years and I really believe that when you, uh, are very, uh, Kind of religious about blocking out those times.
And that is where the real growth comes too. Because until you can take a step back and spend some time and say, okay, here’s where I’m at. Here’s where I really wanna go. How am I gonna get there? Until you can spend that time planning and doing those things, you’re not, it’s not gonna happen.
[00:36:20] Gert: Absolutely.
You need the space. Unless you, unless you have enough space in in your calendar, little is little going to happen.
[00:36:26] Karin: Exactly. You’re just gonna maintain. So here, what is one thing that you know that works.
[00:36:32] Gert: in SEO or in general,
[00:36:34] Karin: however you wanna answer that, , whatever makes sense. Okay. Whatever you can think of.
[00:36:39] Gert: I, I know, I know for sure that one-on-one contact works. Yeah. So everything that doesn’t scale in a business is definitely worth your investment. What do you mean by that? This is specifically, specifically, let me, let me rephrase this. When I started I was as freelancer. One of the first tools I got was in email automation.
Yeah. Because I found it really interesting and very. Interested, say, found it interesting. I could just put this on autopilot. Write an email once it gets sent out all the time. Great. Yeah. Perfect. You don’t have to remember. Yeah. This is one of, one of the most important regrets I have on how I started my business.
Oh. Because if I had focused on the one-on-one relationships, right. From day one and say, send out those personalized loom videos, I do now. Oh, now, now we have, we have a team of 30. , we are much better off than it was back then in as a freelancer. Yeah. But I’m spending much more time on one-on-one relationships.
Yeah. And keeping those partnerships up and keeping those referral partners up and main, uh, deepening or, uh, relationships with clients, uh, doing podcasts, getting, getting the word out there, but really maintaining those relationships over time. Yeah. I think this is what I have definitely come to Appreci.
And this is also something where, that I have learned in this community with James Schramko, where he’s, he really doesn’t, wouldn’t, you wouldn’t expect him to, to spend all the time he does on cultivating these relationships and answering every single business question from a, from a newbie. Um, but he does, he just, just shows up.
So just showing up for one particular person and taking the time to, to understand what they try to achieve. Matching your skill set is definitely something we have also seen in seo. Leverage works. We always have an onboarding call. First half of the call we only talk about the client’s business. What are they trying to achieve?
What have they tried, where are they? What’s the team like, et cetera. To really understand this and then I can say, based on what I understand, based on your team, based on your goals, this is what I think. Where we can help Uhhuh a hundred percent. Otherwise the value is not going to be there.
[00:38:48] Karin: That is so true.
I feel like that that is a significant change we’ve made in the last couple years as well. Having those onboarding calls and having them with Zoom so we can actually look at each other. Mm-hmm. , you make a much different connection with someone when you can see them and, you know, get the facial expressions and all of that stuff.
Um, and it absolutely changes that relationship. and it changes our understanding of the client and where we’re going. And we never end up at the same, at the end of that conversation where we thought we were going to. So it’s not like we just have the conversation. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s just sort of like talking points and we’re doing the same thing.
And that’s exactly what I thought. There’s always things that come out of meetings like that that never would have otherwise, and we wouldn’t have had that understanding Other. .
[00:39:32] Gert: Absolutely. I remember we had a client who ended up with a six figure business just because one of those, one of those one-on-one calls, because he, we just happened to, to discuss what was going on in his industry.
He said, look, this competitor went broke. Uh, we really have, have trouble because everybody pays after 90 or 120 days, et cetera. And literally in the same call I said, let me try something. And I just grabbed the domain. I built a website on the weekend. We launched this the next day, and it has been a six figure business instead.
Amazing. Wouldn’t have come up without this one-on-one conversation. And this is what has always set us aside a little bit as an SEO agency where most agencies try to minimize contact. We just added two q and a calls every week. with me and, uh, to, to the mix without charging anything extra for this because we know these kinds of things work and people get a lot of value
[00:40:18] Karin: out of this.
Yeah. And it really just retains those clients that you have that relationship. And so they think of you when they think of their seo. They don’t just think of like the report and the numbers and everything, and they think, oh no, I would never, uh, Know, look, look at a competitor or leave or think about going somewhere else because I’ve got this relationship with these people, not necessarily that, that company.
Yeah. I think that’s so valuable, making those relationships and really nurturing them and making them feel more personal and, and kind of getting those one-on-one, whether it’s over Zoom or whatever, whatever it needs to be to make that happen. Mm-hmm. , um, there’s so much value and, um, and just longevity that, that comes out of those relationships that super, that’s super.
Awesome. Well, Garrett, absolutely thank you so much. Garrett is the CEO and founder of SEO Leverage, and we will link to your website and all of, um, the other things that you mentioned, your social media. As well as the book that you recommended. Mm-hmm. on the show notes. And thank you so much for this conversation.
I feel like this was really interesting and super useful and helpful.
[00:41:21] Gert: Yeah. Thank you so much. I, I really hope this is available. Everybody interested? Yeah. Just check out SEO leverage and there’s also a quick audit, so if you reach out, I’m going to make sure that they, we send you a coupon code current for your community, for your listeners.
Okay, perfect. So people can get a discount on the, on the quick audit. This is just the first assessment they get on a call with. We get to know each other, talk about an action plan, and I’m happy to facilitate a coupon for your audience there. Awesome.
[00:41:44] Karin: Sounds good. All right, well, thanks again. It was, that was an awesome conversation.
[00:41:48] Gert: Thank you so much for having me.