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Digital Velocity Podcast Hosted by Tim Curtis and Erik Martinez

44 SEO Strategies That Produce Results - Joshua George

This week on the Digital Velocity Podcast, Joshua George of ClickSlice joins Erik and Tim to discuss SEO strategies that will optimize website visibility, increase organic traffic, and create more opportunities to convert prospects into customers.

Companies jeopardize business if they focus on only one marketing source. Joshua says, “But unfortunately, most businesses only realize that when it's too late. So, my advice to anyone listening to this who's running ads, always 100% relying on ads, is don't turn off the ads because the ads have their place...start to think long term and invest in other channels, whether it's SEO, e-mail marketing. But just make sure you're diversifying your revenue. You never want to have all your eggs in one basket.”

SEO is a critical piece in expanding online presence, however, it requires expertise. Joshua explains, “And this is also another reason why we always say to clients, 'Yes, I appreciate you can learn SEO on a blog or watch a few videos, but it really isn't just something you give a second thought to.' You have to be all in, in the SEO industry to understand it.”

Delaying SEO investment will negatively impact business, so it is crucial to start now. Joshua says, “…if you are in business for the long-term, think long-term and invest in SEO whilst things are going good, not when they're going wrong.”

Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about how SEO can create lasting results.

About the Guest:

Joshua George is the owner and founder of ClickSlice, an award-winning SEO agency based in London.

Joshua has been involved in the SEO industry since 2015 and has quickly made a name for himself. He is the founder of the prestigious SEO agency in London and is also an established global lecturer who pioneers making SEO education more accessible across the globe.

Joshua's online courses are taken by thousands of students every month on international eLearning platforms like Udemy and Skillshare. To date, he’s taught over 100,000 students and created dozens of courses designed to teach business owners and marketers about the fundamentals of good SEO, including four-week programs that introduce delegates to E-commerce SEO, National SEO, Google Analytics, WordPress, and many other key digital marketing disciplines.

As the #1 ranked SEO Consultant in London he speaks at conferences and events, both online and offline. He has been featured in publications like Forbes, and London Post, just to name a few.

ClickSlice is the only SEO agency in London that’s recently been hired by the UK government to deliver SEO training to their digital teams.

Joshua and his team are generating over £1M+ in organic revenue every month for clients, thousands of leads, and millions of dollars in sales by applying the latest SEO strategies and tactics.


Erik Martinez: [00:00:00] Hello. Welcome to this episode of the Digital Velocity Podcast. I'm Erik Martinez from Blue Tangerine.

Tim Curtis: And I'm Tim Curtis from CohereOne.

Erik Martinez: Today we have Joshua George on the show, owner and founder of ClickSlice, an award-winning SEO agency based in London. Joshua has been involved in the SEO industry since 2015, has quickly made a name for himself. He's the founder of the prestigious SEO agency in London. He is also an established global lecturer who pioneers making SEO education more accessible across the globe.

As the [00:01:00] number one ranked SEO consultant in London, he speaks at conferences and events both online and offline. He has been featured in publications like Forbes and the London Post just to name a few. Joshua and his team are generating over 1 million pounds in organic revenue every month for clients, thousands of leads, and millions of dollars in sales by applying the latest SEO strategies and tactics. Joshua, welcome to the show.

Joshua George: Hey, man. Thanks for having me.

Erik Martinez: Yeah, we're very much looking forward to this conversation. Me maybe a touch more than Tim, cuz I absolutely love the field of SEO. Not the practitioner that you are, but have enough knowledge to be dangerous. Joshua, if you take just a brief moment and tell us about your journey and why you founded ClickSlice.

Joshua George: Yeah, so I've been involved in the SEO industry since 2016 now. And I initially got involved into SEO as an end result of drop shipping. So, in 2015, I used to actually own one of [00:02:00] the biggest Ecommerce stores in the UK, Ecommerce eBay stores, I should say. And we were pretty much just dropshipping items from Amazon over to eBay, and it was going really, really well.

But the downside of selling on eBay is that for every item you sell, you have to pay a FVF, a Final Value Fee, and it's typically 10% of the value of the item that you're selling. So, if you sell a steam mop for a hundred pound, you have to give eBay 10 pound of that, which is quite a lot of money. So, we were spending literally thousands every month on eBay fees.

So, I did what anyone else would do. They would make their own website, which I did. However, it wasn't on page one on Google. It wasn't getting any clicks, any sales. So, I then just did a search for how to get my website higher on Google. Stumbled across SEO. And from that day onwards I started to learn it, really become obsessed with the industry and how it all works. Even to this day, I'm still fascinated you can manipulate an algorithm to make your website higher. And from that day, with my kind of future, just took a different direction. I didn't carry on with the Ecommerce stuff. I started offering SEO as a service to business owners.

Erik Martinez: Very interesting [00:03:00] and I thought something that you just said in there, manipulate the algorithm. It's not really what we do, right? We're not manipulating the algorithm, but we are trying to figure out what matters the most in those algorithms.

Joshua George: Sure. For sure. Yeah. I mean, I would say probably using the word manipulate isn't the right word there but it's pretty much giving Google what it wants to see.

Erik Martinez: Yeah, which is really, really interesting cuz we have a lot of conversations on our team about SEO and paid search, right? We do both in our company and, you know, one of the things that is really, really happening with the algorithms regardless of it's SEO or PPC, is really, really feeding it good information so that Google can make the best determination on how to rank your content.

One of the things, I've learned over the years is that a great or good SEO has a viewpoint on what's the most important in doing their optimizations, and it informs their strategy. So, for you, what do you think is the most important aspect of SEO and why is it important?

Joshua George: So, I would [00:04:00] say probably one of the most important elements is keyword research because no matter how good your SEO campaign is after you do keyword research if you haven't done keyword research properly, you are going to struggle to generate results. Cuz what we find is, we speak to a lot of business owners who say, yeah, I want to be on page one for this, and that's the only keyword that matters to me. And they're kind of laser-focused on this one keyword, and it's normally the most obvious keyword.

So, If you're a plumber in New York, for example, your most likely keyword you wanna target is plumber, New York. Whilst that is probably the biggest keyword, there's lots of other long-tail variations that you can rank for a lot quicker that also bring in a lot of revenue to the business. So, what I always see people going wrong is just having a wrong keyword strategy.

And to give you like another great example, right? We do a lot of SEO for Ecommerce stores. So, Ecommerce stores are always driven on targeting commercial terms. Men's razor blade, for example. What they always miss out on is targeting the longer tails, which they can target through their blogs. Like, what is the best men's razor blade? How much do razor blades cost?

And these are searches that people are doing higher up in the funnel. [00:05:00] They're interested in the services or products you're offering, but they're not necessarily convinced and ready to buy. But that traffic is still relevant. You can attract it and scoop it up with your blog post and then filter it through to your actual collection page. So, missing out keyword research and just assuming the most obvious keyword is the one to target, is where most people go wrong.

Erik Martinez: You know, I was looking through the content that you produce and you have this idea that there's really four keyword classifications. Would you mind just briefly telling the audience those four classifications and why they're important as part of your keyword research and your keyword strategy?

Joshua George: Yeah. So, there's different keyword types and in regards to what they mean, it all comes down to the intent behind those. So, typically we only focus on two of those, which is informational-related keywords. Now this is any keyword that a user would search for when they're seeking more information.

So, these are typically gonna be keywords that are questions like how, what and why. You know, any keyword that starts with one of those words, a user's looking for [00:06:00] more information. Now, instead of that user landed on one of your sales pages, selling to them, that isn't the right type of content to serve up, because that's not the right intent. So, you really wanna make sure you're targeting informational-related keywords on your blog posts.

And the second type of keywords, which are probably the most important, is your transactional keywords. So, these are the keywords from the intent behind the keyword. The person already knows what they want. They just need to find a page which has that product for sell at a good price, and obviously good shipping time. So, those are the two most important ones, informational and transactional.

There are other types as well, such as navigational keyword. So, for example, if you have an Amex card and you wanna log into Amex, you'd most likely go onto Google, type in Amex login. That keyword would be a navigational type keyword cuz you're navigating to a specific page. There's actually lots more than four. Informational and transactional, are the two you really wanna focus on.

Erik Martinez: For an Ecommerce brand, let's say a brand that has 5,000 items on their site. How do you guys help your clients figure out, you mentioned the word blogging [00:07:00] earlier. I talked to my clients about blogging and they never end up doing it because it's time. They're busy doing other aspects of their job.

Joshua George: Yeah.

Erik Martinez: So, getting down to generating content. I view blogs as a content generation tool.

Joshua George: Yeah.

Erik Martinez: It's not just the blog itself, right? Lots of different outcomes. How do you get your Ecommerce oriented clients to write blog content that fits within the context of what they're selling, both for informational and transactional purposes?

Joshua George: Awesome. That is a really good question. So, in regards to targeting the transactional-related keywords, so you know, as you just said, you know, most Ecomm stores will have hundreds if not thousands of products they have for sale. It's not efficient or a good use of your time to try and optimize every single product page. And product pages often more than not, are the pages that are gonna struggle to rank the most because it's just a product page. And a lot of those have the same content across those pages, just different colors, different sizes.

So, Google doesn't really deem your product pages to have much value to users. Although [00:08:00] we know from a user perspective when the user is on your website, the product pages are great, right? However, when you search for any transactional keyword, typically what you're gonna see in Google is category or collection pages ranking. So, if you are carrying out a search for wireless keyboards, for example, right? You're gonna land on an Ecommerce store that has a category page with literally 20 or 30 wireless keyboards to sell.

You can browse every single product in that category and then pick which one you know is the best for your fit based on what you want, whether it's a mechanical keyboard or a soft-type keyboard. So, there's lots of different ways you can go about it, but typically, your transactional keywords are gonna be targeted on your category pages.

So, when it comes to us writing blogs for clients, there's two main reasons why write blog posts for clients is first to attract that top-of-the-funnel traffic, as I was touching on earlier. That is relevant traffic that you actually want to have on your website. And traffic in itself is actually a ranking factor. If Google can see your website is getting traffic, it's more likely to give you more traffic in the future over a site that doesn't get any traffic.

Now [00:09:00] the second reason, which probably one of the biggest reasons why I still recommend you publish blog posts on your Ecommerce stores, is it allows you to build what we call topical relevancy. So, what people always forget is that Google is a search engine, and it has this thing called Google Bot.

Google Bot's goal is to crawl the internet to discover and understand what your pages is about. Now, Ecommerce stores are notoriously known for not having much content on them. They just have products, product descriptions, and basically a checkout button, right? So, when you publish more blogs onto your Ecommerce store, that is relevant to the products that you are selling.

Again, using the same example, let's imagine you sell men's razor blades. If you keep publishing blog posts related to men's shaving blades, then what you're doing is you're increasing the topical relevancy of your site. Google has no doubt whatsoever your site is about men's razor blades. So, whenever someone searches for a men's razor blade, Google is more likely to return your website to the user as it deems yours to be the best fit.

Tim Curtis: I'm gonna take us back one step. We're talking a lot about the very specific [00:10:00] keywords and how we go about that, but you know, in engaging with a lot of brands, a lot of clients, the challenge I find with SEO is that brands are typically focused on that tyranny of the urgent.

So, they have a shortsightedness in relation to going out and grabbing traffic or grabbing placement, et cetera. And so SEO typically has not risen to the level of investment, time, energy, and more importantly, focus that your traditional pay-per-click or SEM has. Again, because we need to be ranked right away. We need this right away and we don't take a look at the long-term growth aspect or the long tail, if you will.

So, how do you go about, cuz you have to do this all the time, how do you go about engaging in the conversation to reinforce and to pull people into SEO to explain it is mission critical that you do it today? Because when you [00:11:00] wait six months to a year, look at what you've lost. How do you go about that conversation?

Joshua George: Yeah, so I would say there's kind of two ways we approach it. The first is saying, I realized a while ago, cuz you know, it is quite a bit of a job to convince someone they need to invest in SEO and they're not gonna get the results for six months down the line.

So, we actually invested in a lot of SEO in our own agency site. If you Google an SEO expert London, SEO consultant London, we rank number one. So, a lot of our clients that come on board are people coming to us. They're carrying out a search for an SEO term and they just simply see our page. They see our services, what we offer, and then they get in touch.

So, for us, that works really well because the person already understands they need SEO. They've carried out a search for an SEO term. They already understand that they need SEO right now, which is why they're carried out that search. So, for a lot of the kind of deals and clients we speak to, we don't really have to educate them that much.

However, we do see more of a common trend of us having to say this to Ecomm clients is what we started to specialize in within the last year. And most Ecomm brands, as you said, like are running ads. Whether it's Facebook ads or [00:12:00] Google ads, TikTok ads, whatever ads is performing well, right? And the great thing about ads is when you put an ad for show in an hour, you can get in clicks and sell to your brand, which is amazing. Where on a downside, SEO can take months to kick in, which is exactly why brands overlook SEO.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying paid ads are bad, cuz I think every marketing strategy has its place. But I think to be 100% reliant on paid ads is not a good idea. And the reason I say that is because CPCs, cost per clicks are always on the rise. You know, it's costing more money to generate the same amount of clicks now as it was last year. There's more advertisers coming into the space and they're willing to spend more money on the same clicks. Again, it's pushing up clicks on the whole.

And ads can sometimes have off days as well. You know, you can show the same ad for a hundred days and one day you just get no clicks or no sales and you haven't changed a targeting, you haven't changed a copy. So, having those off days can be, you know, really painful to a business. But what I see most often, which is what we make aware to clients, is, ads are great, but ultimately the problem with ads is you don't own the traffic source.

So, what happens is, we spoke to a client last [00:13:00] week, right? They own a wholesale business in the UK selling, like garden fertilizers, garden for pretty much a wholesale garden outlet, pretty much. He came to us because he now wanted SEO. And I was like, oh, is there any reason why you wanna do SEO now and not six months ago? And he was like, well, his whole business was reliant on Facebook ads and it was going absolutely well.

Tim Curtis: Mm-hmm.

Joshua George: But all of a sudden Facebook banned his account and he's trying to get through to them, they're not responding, and he's really struggling. He's, you know, expanded his warehouse last year to basically supply the demand that he's getting from his ads. His account's now gone. His clicks, his revenue has literally gone overnight. So, he's now trying to catch up with what he's done in the last six months. And all the guys he's competing with that invested in SEO for the last two years, they're absolutely killing it.

So, now we've got a massive hill to climb for this guy, but he realizes, Hey, yet it needs to be done. I should have done this two years ago. But unfortunately, most businesses only realize that when it's too late. So, my advice to anyone listening to this who's running ads always 100% relying on ads is don't turn off the ads because the ads have their place but start to think long term and invest in other channels, whether it's SEO, e-mail marketing. But just [00:14:00] make sure you're diversifying your revenue. You never wanna have all your eggs in one basket.

Tim Curtis: I've always taken the approach, this has been successful for me. There's a couple of ways I kinda start the conversation. The first way that I frame and get the context important so that people kind of align. SEO is a bit of a voodoo, right? It's sort of out there. People don't necessarily understand it. They're oftentimes intimidated by technical SEO. It's not something that they're comfortable having conversations about and sometimes it's easier not to deal with it.

Joshua George: Yeah.

Tim Curtis: Where I've started is I've been talking about risk assessment. Businesses do not understand, the example you just sited with Facebook. They do not understand just how much risk they have in being over-leveraged in an SEM or PPC environment. The example for Facebook, Apple's intelligent tracking prevention, boom. Immediately. Facebook went from king to pauper. It went from a targeting tool to a non-targeting tool.

 We had instances of businesses that [00:15:00] were generating four to 5,000 leads a day, quality leads a day, that dropped to 300 and something leads a day. Absolutely devastating. But because these businesses had over-leveraged particular players, they weren't prepared for the risk of what happens when something changes.

And it's not necessarily just Facebook. What happens when Google makes a new change and you are targeted? There was a cutlery company that overnight Google decided knives are weapons. They're also in the kitchen, but they're weapons. You couldn't run campaigns on them anymore. Again, there was no ability for these clients to turn things around.

The second part of that, once you have someone's attention, what I feel like is a very effective way of doing it, is I talk about retirement strategies and investment, 401k. Are you waiting until the last five years of retirement to start paying into your 401k? No, that's ludicrous. And everybody around the table knows that. But then when you apply that to SEO and why you have to start [00:16:00] early, the rule of 72, the magnifying impact of starting early, it exactly corresponds with SEO.

And I feel like if we can just get some of those pieces across, we might get those people who aren't looking for SEO expert in London to really begin to pay attention to the importance of SEO. And listen, when you are over-leveraging a channel, whether it's Amazon or Facebook, as an owner, you are writing an equity check to those organizations. They own a portion of your business, whether you like it or not, and you gotta understand that. So, SEO, vital, vital, vital.

Joshua George: Awesome. That was a really, really good analogy. I just should start using that I think for clients. We do need to educate them cuz you are spot on. And the problem is, I said most people only realize this when it comes too late. And the downside is, when it's too late, it is too late, and you've got way more work to do to catch up.

Tim Curtis: So hard to run and catch up.

Erik Martinez: It is [00:17:00] very hard to run and catch up cuz more and more people are jumping into the market every single day. Which leads me to the next question, which is really about marketplaces. So, there are some statistics out there that say 70% of the consumers searching for products start on a marketplace. And we know Amazon's by far the largest marketplace that people start their shopping adventures on.

During the pandemic, we definitely saw a shift away, maybe not a shift away from the marketplaces, but we saw more direct traffic, more searches for individual brands as people had time to do more research. But now that they're back to quote, normal lives and their time-constrained again, it's really, really easy to go shopping on a marketplace. So, the question for you is, how are you seeing sites like Amazon impact the SEO landscape? What do you think companies can do to compete in rank for relevant terms visa-vie these marketplace [00:18:00] applications?

Joshua George: Yeah, so that's a great question. I think it touches onto what we just covered. So again, it kind of goes back to how I got involved into SEO as well. I used to be one of the biggest sellers on eBay and I was drop shipping, and there was always these problems that were out of my control that the platform just introduced. Such as those final value fees that I just had to ever either say, okay, I'll take it or I'm gonna go elsewhere.

It's kind of like an ultimatum they give you all the time and you never wanna be building your business on a third-party platform that you don't own cause ultimately you don't own your business. If Amazon sent you an email and say, Hey, I know you've got this amazing FBA business, you're doing a hundred million profit a month, for example. At end of the day, you could be doing that yourself without Amazon, right? If Amazon's sent an email and cancels your account, you no longer have a business, right? So, you always need to be invested in your own platforms, right? So, that is the first thing how I work my view on marketplaces.

The second view is often, more often than not, when we're doing SEO for Ecommerce clients, we're always ranking above Amazon. We've actually got loads of case studies where keywords were ranked for clients above Amazon. And the reason why we can do that so easily is because Amazon has [00:19:00] millions or even billions of products on their website, right?

So, whenever we take on a client and we're saying, Hey, we wanna rank you for electric bikes, we know that Amazon isn't investing the majority of their resources to rank for electric bikes. We can publish hundreds of blogs around electric bikes for our client, build that topical relevancy. Something Amazon won't do, they'll just have one page. And yes, it'll be authoritative cause it's Amazon, but they'll struggle to rank based on relevancy.

So, what we do say to clients as well, which is quite important to know about SEO when it comes to ranking on the first page, it isn't just the most authoritative websites that have ranked. It's the most authoritative and the most relevant. Which is often why when you carry out any search for, you know, anything generically or researching.

For example, my little brother had acne the other day. So, we were searching for some cream for acne, some really niche searches, and he is finding all these little blogs about advice and screenshots people are putting up and pretty much like a forum, but on the website. Really high-quality content. All super relevant to what he was searching for.

You would've thought if it was searching for anything to do with acne cream and stuff like that, it'd be Amazon, you know, all these big sites on page one. So, just goes to show you can easily [00:20:00] outran these sites. You just need to do the right approach, which is building that relevancy.

Erik Martinez: You make a really, really great point. But then you have clients, so this is a real challenge that I face with one of my clients today. They're heavy into Amazon, they're heavy into Wayfair, they're heavy into, you know, 16 or 17 different marketplaces. One of the things I see that's interesting in Amazon is Amazon understands the content game, and so they're constantly pushing their merchants to continue to update their content, add new content, add video, all those things, right?

When you have a client who is heavily invested within the marketplaces and they're to a certain extent competing against themselves, is there anything that you found that like really helps set the stage for them to be able to grow their own traffic and their own sites, even though they're investing heavily in some of these other places?

Joshua George: Yeah, so I would say if that person is investing heavily into Amazon, they must be generating a good ROI to keep [00:21:00] putting more money back into Amazon. So, what I would say to that person is try and pivot your focus to putting more money into Amazon and making more money to thinking more long-term. So, taking some of that profits out of you're making from Amazon and invest that into your own website.

Now again, SEO is a long-term thing, right? It's not a case where if your business is relying on Amazon, you need to quickly turn it off tomorrow and go all into SEO. That is definitely not what I'm saying. What I'm trying to say is you need to think long-term and start planting these seeds for your future, right? And as you were saying earlier, Tim, pretty much planning for your retirement.

So, if I own a big FBA store on Amazon, what I'd be doing, I'd be taking a percentage of my profits every month and investing it into my own asset that I own. And eventually, over time you'll see your traffic compound. You know, you'll be getting more backlinks, you'll be ranking, and then what you'll notice is, hey, my, my little site that I've put money into, it's starting to generate sales. I'm gonna take this more seriously now. And that way you diversify your risk. You're not just quickly pausing all your revenue off and then jumping into your own website.

Tim Curtis: So, let's kind of pivot off that a little bit. I want to ask a further question. What I've started noticing of course [00:22:00] over the last couple of years is the steady increase of YouTube as an example in playing a part in SEO. So, you'll see YouTube videos and content rank above just written content. So, we've not really discussed the YouTube aspect. But we all know that's been, what? The second largest search engine? Between two or three.

So, let's talk about YouTube and how YouTube plays into this, and the strategy that somebody might employ. Your brother's example of the skincare. Very, very quickly you go into any subject like that and what I've noticed is, what was 10 years ago was blog is now video, wildly successful videos, and vlogs, and people are paying attention.

Joshua George: Yeah, no, sure. I think that's a really good question. So, we are definitely seeing more videos enter the SERP for sure. What I would say is, I think ultimately when it comes to doing SEO or just viewing SEO on the whole, is you always need to remember, Google's [00:23:00] best intention is to give the best result to the user, right?

If you're going to Google and search for, I don't know, chocolate ice cream, for example. And then you'll see all vanilla ice cream. You're not gonna have a good experience, right? You won't use Google again. So, Google always has the intention to give you the best result, whatever you search for.

So, if you carry out a search for something like, how to make a pizza, for example. For me personally, I would rather see a video of someone making that than a blog post of someone telling me, get out a pan, roll the dough. And I can't visualize me doing that. So in instances like that, yes, video has its place.

However, when you're searching for transactional keywords like best men's shaver or best wireless microphone, anything to do with a transactional intent behind it, people typically don't want to see those videos unless it's more of a generic affiliate term, like the best wireless headphones. Then people want to see a comparison. Often more than not, video will be better for that cause people can see the headphones, they can compare them.

And as you said, a lot of these videos are going absolutely viral and blowing up inorganically in the SERPs as well. And the good thing about YouTube as well is [00:24:00] Google owns YouTube. It's a second, second search engine in the world. So, I always say it as like, you know, if you are producing content for either Google search or YouTube, you're still producing content for the same company, which is Alphabet who owns both of those.

Definitely would say in terms of how I'm seeing it affect SEO, it could be a case where your typical blog post now is not getting much used because it's going to video content. But if that is the case, you have to adapt. That is our role as an SEO. Like we have to adapt by changing the algorithm every single year. If you can't adapt, then you are not gonna succeed.

Well, this is obviously advantage you have with work of an agency, right? They would spot this trend and they would go out and get the videos done for you or work you to get those done. They may not go and record it in the agency office, but you know, they would advise you on what you need to do to succeed.

And this is also another reason why we always say to clients, Yes, I appreciate you can learn SEO on a blog or watch a few videos, but it really isn't just something you give second thought to. You have to be all in, in the SEO industry to understand it. That's very important cuz we have taken on a lot of clients, even this year. They've come to us now because the person that was [00:25:00] managing in-house wasn't getting enough results. And that is because they're not in SEO, they are a finance person. And they do a bit of SEO on the side, you know, put the keyword here and build a backlink, and that is not enough. You need to take SEO seriously.

Erik Martinez: A follow-up to that question. I have a viewpoint that SEO today is all about content and you talk a lot about content, but I think content creation is scary for a lot of people, right? There's some people that do an amazing job of just being able to take any little thread and, create a little story out of it and get it optimized and onto their site. And there's some companies that do an amazing job, but the vast majority of us think content is scary.

How do you advise a client to get over that hump? What's the first step? You talk about writing a blog. But even to a certain extent, writing a blog can be scary for somebody who's not used to writing a blog. So, how do you get people to jumpstart the process? Obviously, your team may do some of that heavy lifting for them. But let's [00:26:00] say if they were to start out on their own, what are two or three things that they could do to get started on that?

Joshua George: Yeah, so I would say in an ideal world, you'd go to an expert who handled it so you don't have to worry about it. Same way, if my car breaks, I'll go to a mechanic that can fix it. I won't try and fix it myself. However, if you are starting out, I appreciate, obviously budgets are limited and not everyone can afford to outsource anything, whether it's going to a garage or getting the SEO done.

So, one of the great things about SEO is whenever you do a search for any keyword, what you see on page one is Google showing you their hand. They are showing you what they expect to see on page one. So, if you own a website, maybe selling hair and makeup for example, or selling different types of products in the beauty industry, and you want to write a blog post on the five best acne creams on the market, right? If you're unsure how to start, all you need to do is Google the five best acne creams on the market and Google will show you what it wants to see.

So, you can actually look at the top five websites. I always say top five, cuz the top 10 can be a bit overwhelming. Even top three can work. And [00:27:00] just analyze the content. You know, look at how many headings they have. What are they using? H1 tag. What does a H2 tag say? What is a keyword identity? How many times have they mentioned the keyword? How many internal links? What are the images? You know, just looking at that, it's pretty much your blueprint.

And it's kind of the same process we follow at the agency. When clients come to us and we wanna be number one, we don't just say, Hey, let's go with four blogs and two backlinks. We don't just make it up, which is what a lot of people actually do. We analyze what is already working and replicate that for our client sites.

Erik Martinez: If someone wanted to get started, are there any specific roles on the team that you say, in order to do this right, you absolutely need this role or this role, or these two roles to get started?

Joshua George: Yes. I would say the first role before you do anything is the keyword research. Because if you don't know what keywords to target, anything you do after that, the content you write will be pretty much pointless because no one's gonna be searching for the content you've written cuz it's not targeting a keyword. The links you build won't be effective. And even if you do rank your site, you end up ranking for a [00:28:00] keyword that no one is searching for. So, getting the foundation right and making sure to target in the right keywords is absolutely fundamental.

A lot of people will say, Hey, I sell wireless headphones. I'm gonna rank for wireless headphones. That is ridiculously competitive. And if you did your keyword research, you would see, when you search a wireless headphones on page one, you've got the biggest sites in the world and to rank above those, you'll be building relevancy and authority for years to come. And it's not worth it. So if you do your research initially and do it correctly, you can see that and kind of avoid it, you know, the common pitfalls that most people fall into.

Tim Curtis: So, one of my favorite questions when you're talking about an engagement is how do we know it's working? What does success look like with SEO? We're so accustomed to what success looks like for a pay-per-click. SEO's a different animal. So, it kind of distills back down, there's quiet in the room, and somebody finally asks the question, what does success look like, and how do we know we are being successful?

Joshua George: Yeah, so we actually have like three touchpoints of reporting for clients. I won't get into every single touchpoint. The short answer is we track two KPIs and you have to remember [00:29:00] is, when you are hiring someone to do SEO, their job is to make your website more visible. So we can do that, right? So, whatever we track your keyword ranking.

So, if you are, let's say, a lawyer in San Francisco, right? You probably wanna be on page one for lawyer San Francisco, or attorney. Attorney I should say. Sorry, that's my UK terminology coming through. But pretty much instead of you Googling that keyword every day, attorney San Francisco and to seeing where you are, making a note in your pencil position, 6, 7, 5.

We have a rank tracker. So, we will put your keyword and put your website into our tool and it will show us where your website ranks for that keyword. So, that is one KPI we use. Cuz over time what you'll see is we start tracking a keyword and the client's ranking is in position 55. There's 10 results per page on Google. So, position 55 is page six, and then next month it will be 35, 25, 16, and it'll slowly go higher and higher and higher.

However, keyword rankings whilst are great, ultimately, clients are paying us to get more traffic, right? So, we also track traffic as well. And as you're doing SEO, SEO is compounding, so your traffic should be increasing month for month as [00:30:00] well. So, if you're working with an agency and they're not telling you way you're ranking for your keywords or how much traffic you're getting, that's a red flag for sure. Most people hide that data because they track keywords that no one searches for, and they know they're gonna generate no traffic and inquiry.

So, we actually had a chat with a client. And they were saying that, Hey, like we're getting all this traffic now. It's converting, but not as well as we want. Can you help us? I thought, I can give you my input on what I think you should do from a CRO perspective, which is obviously conversion rate optimization, but ultimately our job is to get you at the top.

There's only so much we can do. We can't get you to the top and then optimize your website and test different colors of buttons. Like, you need to hire someone else for that. Everyone has their own specialty, right? And, you know, so sometimes that is an issue we have with clients. Like, Hey, I'm getting so much traffic now, how can I make this convert? So, we are looking for a good CRO agency we can actually recommend when clients do come to us about that.

Tim Curtis: So, parallel to that, if someone's looking for that SEO partner that you've just been describing, what do they look for and what do they ask about?

Joshua George: Great question. So, I think the first thing you wanna pay [00:31:00] attention to is the case studies on the website. A lot of agencies will have lots of case studies, and you can actually catch out a lot of agencies because most of these agencies will have case studies from like 2012 when it was super easy to rank. And they're like, oh, we got this client number one. If you take the key where they're showing in the case study and Google it, check where that site ranks. You'll probably see it's not even on page one anymore. So, that's something you can do, which most agencies always still like kind of trip over.

The second thing I would say is If you are hiring someone to make your website get higher, at least make sure their website ranks as well. Like, it's all good getting a referral from your friend, but at least check out the person's website. So, like I said, for us, I was very aware of this. There's no way I can sell SEO to someone if I haven't done SEO myself.

So, I rank number one for an SEO consultant London. So, when I speak to clients I say, look, this is what we can do. Our process is proven. These are our rates. Do you want to go ahead? And if they say no. It's okay, do you really wanna go to the guy below us? It doesn't make any sense. Don't you wanna be at the top too? So, ranking for keywords is a great way to see what agencies are serious. And you can do that yourself just [00:32:00] by Googling SEO agency plus the city you live in and you'll find lots of those on there.

The third thing which you wanna avoid, which is another red flag I would say, is agencies that tie you into long contracts. Again, most agencies do this because they know they can't generate results, and when they tie you into a contract for 12 months, guess what? They've got predictable revenue coming in for the next 12 months. Where, you know, we only operate on a month-to-month basis. We put our neck on the line and we base all of our results on us delivering what we say to clients prior to them coming on board.

So, avoid any agency that tie you into a contract. Yes, we don't own Google. We can't guarantee results, but there's no reason to be locked into a contract. You should have communication every single month and know exactly what's going on. I would say that's probably the three biggest things to look out for.

Erik Martinez: I found it interesting just in researching your company and your process at how much you guys do up front. I think, you know, a lot of agencies forget, and a lot of clients forget, how much research there is that goes into having a successful campaign. Looks like you guys have built that as [00:33:00] part of your sales process, right?

Joshua George: Yeah. I lost track of the amount of hours we spend upfront before a client even becomes a client. For us, it works really well cuz we provide so much value up upfront. It's just a no-brainer. If a client comes to us and they say, Hey, send me a proposal. It's like, well, hey, we can't just send you one. Like, I dunno what you wanna target, what are your keywords, what's your budget, when do you wanna rank? Is it like within six months? Is it a year?

There's so many variables where most agencies will just say, Hey, I've got this package service. It's one grand, two grand a month, take it or leave it. Those are the ones that don't generate results. So, they fail to understand the business. So, yeah, we spend a lot upfront. We have one person full-time who does all the keyword research, and she'll literally just find the best keyword to target for clients.

And we'll show it to the client before they're a client, so they can take this and go elsewhere if they wish. That's fine. But we kind of back ourselves at, Hey, we've done all this work, surely we can take this conversation a bit further. And sometimes clients do go elsewhere. That's fine. We're not desperate for clients and we don't really wanna work with a client that operates like that anyway. So, we've definitely refined our processes over the [00:34:00] last few years to say the least.

Erik Martinez: This has been fantastic. I could talk about this stuff all day. Get into the weeds with you, get a little nerdy, but unfortunately, our time is a little bit short. If there's one last piece of advice that you'd like to leave the audience with, what would it be?

Joshua George: It would be if you are in business for the long-term, think long-term, and invest in SEO whilst things are going good, not when they're going wrong.

Erik Martinez: I completely agree with that. I've seen that play out multiple times in my career. Joshua, you were dead on. So, if someone wants to reach out to you and connect, what's the best way to get in touch with you?

Joshua George: Yeah, so you can just go over to our website, you know, just Just click as a mouse, click, slice as a slice of pizza. You know, if you are looking to generate more inquiries organically, whether it sells, inquiries, whatever it may be. If you wanna boost your online visibility and be seen above your competitors, please do reach out to us.

We actually have a free discovery call, so you can book a call with us. You'll jump on a call with either me or Theo, and what we'll do, we'll do a mini audit of [00:35:00] your website right there on the call in real-time, and show you exactly where you're going wrong. And then if it's a good fit, we'll put together a custom plan for you to achieve your goals and objectives.

Erik Martinez: Awesome. We really appreciate you coming on the show today. Brought up some amazing points that everybody should think about how important SEO strategy is as part of your overall business objectives. Wow. Just fantastic stuff.

Tim Curtis: Yeah, this was particularly good.

Erik Martinez: Yeah. Absolutely fantastic. That's it for today's episode of the Digital Velocity Podcast. I'm Erik Martinez from Blue Tangerine.

Tim Curtis: And I'm Tim Curtis from CohereOne.


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