Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Ask me anything SEO/Marketing/E-Commerce

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 23rd, 2017 12:52 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2004
4543 posts
484 upvotes

Ask me anything SEO/Marketing/E-Commerce

2017 marks my 20th year working online (and 13th year here!). Pretty amazing and depressing that I'm getting so old at the same time lol. Who would have thought a hobby I started as a teen would turn into life long income.
This forum is pretty slow nowdays and Google is always changing so I'd figure I'd start a thread and share some advice.

I dont' know everything, I'm always learning, everyday. So my opinion might be different than another guy with SEO experience. But at the same time I'm confident enough to call out stupid ideas when I see them.

I used to do more greyhat and blackhat techniquest, but over the past five years Google has been getting so smart it's only a matter of time before you get caught... though guys seem to get away with it over and over again. Today I mostly do everything by the book with a bit of greyhat techniquest mixed in. Greyhat more so means you're not totally going against the rules but it's not exactly perfect either. The problem with doing everything the right way is it is very tedious and time consuming. It takes a lot of work.

Right now I run my own business, and I currently have a small number of SEO clients (from word of mouth I don't go around looking) and two guys working for me. I've been in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Inc.com, Huffington Post, plus others and most local media outlets. For clients I typically charge $1000-$2500/month. I'm trying to add packages around $500-$600/month but their competition is spending 2-3x that per month, it's hard to try and compete at that price range. There are probably tasks I can outsource but I have a hard time putting trust in someone to save money and take a hit in quality. I have a fear of missing that one link, or one connection because I had someone else do the work rather than myself.

One of the biggest things right now is content and incoming links. People say Google is getting away from incoming links, but imo it will always be a huge factor. Both of these are directly related to being an authority and trust, which is what Google wants at the top... which is why you see all the big names up to.

Feel free to ask away. Hopefully I can help out a couple people atleast!
30 replies
Newbie
May 24, 2012
23 posts
7 upvotes
Toronto
I have an ecommerce website that I would like to increase visibility on.

What strategies can I use to maximize the bang for my buck? Any resources to learn from that you recommend?
(Yes, i know its a pretty general questions but I'm hoping for any kind of guidance.)
Also, what do you think about facebook advertising?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2004
4543 posts
484 upvotes
weirdlogic wrote:
Mar 21st, 2017 5:34 pm
I have an ecommerce website that I would like to increase visibility on.

What strategies can I use to maximize the bang for my buck? Any resources to learn from that you recommend?
(Yes, i know its a pretty general questions but I'm hoping for any kind of guidance.)
Also, what do you think about facebook advertising?
It depends on the niche, but often participating in related forums is a good way to start and build yourself as an authority. Then you could branch out from there and try to get content on related blogs.
www.quicksprout.com is a pretty decent site. He used to have some really good stuff on his site, then got lazy and outsourced crap, but now is back hiring really good writers. A lot of fluff but a lot of good basic stuff there as well.
I have a small amount of experience with Facebook advertising, not enough to gauge the success of it. Though I just got another client who has a small budget dedicated for PPC so I'm going to get more involved in it. I like that you can pinpoint your market. If done right it can be profitable. I know one guy that made a killing in FB ads few years ago, not sure if he still is. But he made small profits but upscaled it 1000x fold. Think he was spending like $10k/day to make like $1k profit.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 30, 2003
5012 posts
189 upvotes
Toronto
Which business will win overtime? Lets say put cooking recipes online.
  1. A business that is super awesome. Really put good unique receipes online, but they are not doing anything technically to enhance their presence (say basic wordpress with ok template).
    ]*] A business that is mediocre but has hire a SEO company
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2004
4543 posts
484 upvotes
PrinceMS wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2017 4:08 am
Which business will win overtime? Lets say put cooking recipes online.
  1. A business that is super awesome. Really put good unique receipes online, but they are not doing anything technically to enhance their presence (say basic wordpress with ok template).
    ]*] A business that is mediocre but has hire a SEO company
I'd say SEO company more likely because they are proactive and trying to rank.
Now the recipe one could be successful, even more so than the one the SEO company is working on but it would have to do with who comes across the site. Say you have absolutely amazing recipes and you share with your friends. Well they are so good that those friends share with their friends. Then all the sudden some local food blog or food column sees it and picks it up. That kind of 'SEO' can't be beat. That's why a combination of both is ideal. Secondly, a good SEO company will make the necessary changes to a site to change it from mediocre to very good. Not a redesign, but fix small things.

I have a couple regular type client, plumber/electrician/etc. Thos are harder to get exposure on as you really have to stand out. So you need to create amazing content, but even with that, it's hard to get picked up by relevant sites. Now another company I do work for builds $5M+ homes. That is unique and interesting, it's much easier to find people to write about them.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 30, 2003
5012 posts
189 upvotes
Toronto
baz5 wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2017 9:52 am
I have a couple regular type client, plumber/electrician/etc. Thos are harder to get exposure on as you really have to stand out. So you need to create amazing content,
Plumbers / electricians will be a hard sell no doubt. Its a hand skill and there is little "creativity" part to it - hence anyone who can do the job will do. Other than putting out good policies (24 hour available etc) I don't know how can you make them unique?
- Lets say you have 3 plumber clients for SEO, do you think how to make one of them unique and then apply same thing to other two clients? Does this strategy work?

- I think Lawyer is a much better professional for SEO.
Do you agree - Even though most of them are similar (doing Real Estate, family and bit of criminology) you can show them in unique light a little easier? Do you have any idea/example how do you make them stand out?

I read couple of books on sales and all of them concentrate on one-on-one sales like person in front of you and genuinely interested. Reality is... different :)
For Sale:
    Canon C100 + Canon 70-200 f2.8 + ...
Looking for: Sony Camera for video (for a good price)
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2004
4543 posts
484 upvotes
PrinceMS wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2017 10:13 am
Plumbers / electricians will be a hard sell no doubt. Its a hand skill and there is little "creativity" part to it - hence anyone who can do the job will do. Other than putting out good policies (24 hour available etc) I don't know how can you make them unique?
- Lets say you have 3 plumber clients for SEO, do you think how to make one of them unique and then apply same thing to other two clients? Does this strategy work?

- I think Lawyer is a much better professional for SEO.
Do you agree - Even though most of them are similar (doing Real Estate, family and bit of criminology) you can show them in unique light a little easier? Do you have any idea/example how do you make them stand out?

I read couple of books on sales and all of them concentrate on one-on-one sales like person in front of you and genuinely interested. Reality is... different :)
You're right something like lawyer is a little more unique and easier, but also harder. A lot of the big firms are getting 'seo' and not even realizing it. Big cases/stories they are getting mentioned without even putting an effort in. On top of that they do a ton of charity and donations where they are again getting mentioned or linked back from these sites. I've researched my top local law firms and was pretty surprised at how strong some of their sites were, and they didn't even do it intentionally. These guys are donating thousands and thousands of dollars to events, organizations, etc and getting great links back. You can't exatly tell your law client "Hey xxxx donated $10,000 to yyyy and are on the front page of their site, you should do that too." But yeah, in the lawyer field it's much easier for me to contact some related website and say "Hey I'm a lawyer I'd love to write an article on xxxx if you could publish it." I'm sure there are a lot of websites and media outlets that would be interested.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 30, 2003
5012 posts
189 upvotes
Toronto
baz5 wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2017 2:57 pm
You're right something like lawyer is a little more unique and easier, but also harder. A lot of the big firms are getting 'seo' and not even realizing it. Big cases/stories they are getting mentioned without even putting an effort in. On top of that they do a ton of charity and donations where they are again getting mentioned or linked back from these sites. I've researched my top local law firms and was pretty surprised at how strong some of their sites were, and they didn't even do it intentionally. These guys are donating thousands and thousands of dollars to events, organizations, etc and getting great links back. You can't exatly tell your law client "Hey xxxx donated $10,000 to yyyy and are on the front page of their site, you should do that too." But yeah, in the lawyer field it's much easier for me to contact some related website and say "Hey I'm a lawyer I'd love to write an article on xxxx if you could publish it." I'm sure there are a lot of websites and media outlets that would be interested.
Do you have an example of how Lawyer can make themselves stand out?

I hear Diamond and Diamond lawyer - but they don't stand out. They just mass market ... a lot (and I hear shady things about their business model in personal circles).
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Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 19, 2007
580 posts
29 upvotes
Markham
Hey, thanks for the thread! Have a few questions about this business in general.
1. How do you usually find your client? $1000/month is not very cheap, so I assume the client is medium size already, and seeking business growth?
2. I usually wonder, what if the client's business just not gonna work, ie: wrong product for the target market; low demand...like something even though you spend dollars on marketing, but with minimum outcome. Do you still try to help them?

Thanks!
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2004
4543 posts
484 upvotes
PrinceMS wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2017 3:45 pm
Do you have an example of how Lawyer can make themselves stand out?

I hear Diamond and Diamond lawyer - but they don't stand out. They just mass market ... a lot (and I hear shady things about their business model in personal circles).
I guess things would also depend on what type of lawyer they are. But I'd probably find relevant websites/blogs/forums and interact with the members. Write and article here and there. As I said above websites would love to have a lawyer write content for them. I'd use that as an advantage and try and get on other sites that route. That's assuming the lawyer is willing to take some time to write/edit an article. Best bet would probably be to hire someone highly qualified to write a high quality article, then get the lawyer to check over it. I doubt any lawyer wants to spend time writing articles. Though if they are just starting out and want to get their name out, it's a good idea.
purplesnow22 wrote:
Mar 24th, 2017 10:23 am
Hey, thanks for the thread! Have a few questions about this business in general.
1. How do you usually find your client? $1000/month is not very cheap, so I assume the client is medium size already, and seeking business growth?
2. I usually wonder, what if the client's business just not gonna work, ie: wrong product for the target market; low demand...like something even though you spend dollars on marketing, but with minimum outcome. Do you still try to help them?
Thanks!
You know when I first had the idea of charging people $1000+/month I thought it was crazy and no way anyone would spend that, especially in Winnipeg. But businesses start to see everyone else is doing it. When they see they're no where to be seen and other businesses are at the top, they want to know how they got their and what they are doing. One client of mine I did a bit of SEO about 6 years ago when SEO wasn't a big thing. I did very little work and they were in the top three. They got a TON of leads from it. They slowly fell down and don't really rank anymore. So they saw how valuable it was to be ranking at the top and that was six years ago. If you think about it, say it's a construction company or something similar, all it takes is one or two jobs to cover the cost of $1000/month. So if you can get them constant leads, you see how valuable the service actually is. I just picked up a client that was paying $4000USD/month and wanted to cut budget. So they are now paying me $2000/month. The money is out there, and people are realizing if they want to compete it may be necessary. I worked with the top local SEO here for a while in partnership, and the number of clients we picked up regularly was pretty shocking! Anyways, how I find them, for the most part I get word of mouth. I don't actively look for clients. I work on my own stuff a lot of the time so I don't want to have too many clients. Just enough to give me a change of pace and work on something different. Also, I hate trying to sell why you need to be spending $1000+/month. So when people reach out to me they already have an idea of what SEO is, and the costs involved. I don't like to blow smoke up people's a**. I jus tell them what I do and the costs involved. I have a pretty good track record and have done things not many people can say they've done. I'm not going to try and force them or convince them, I have my own projects to work on so if it's not in someone's budget, I'm not going to try and force them or convince them to spend the money. SEO business is so competitive and 95% of firms are liars and sell crap services. I'm not going to join them and guarantee you this or that and show you fancy graphs and numbers.

2. For the most part I haven't really had that. But I feel I'm more than just an SEO, but an online marketer in general. I've been doing this for 20 years, I know what works what doesn't. I always try to play devil's advocate with people so they don't get their hopes up. I have a friend with a lot of money and always has these spontaneous ideas, and I have to remind him of the time and effort involved. But I'm a very honest guy. Like I said I'm not going to blow smoke up someone's *ss. If I see issues with the site or product I will tell them, or if I don't see that it would work, I tell them. I don't want someone to hire me on for several months and wonder why they aren't making money, both of us lose in that case.
Newbie
May 20, 2012
91 posts
8 upvotes
VANCOUVER
I have a few websites that are top-5 ranked for a bunch of search terms. Recently I've noticed that Google snippets are becoming more and more common. I'm trying to adjust for this by adding lists, and creating stand-alone paragraphs with detailed snippet-length definitions. Both of these have helped us to get the snippet position in a few cases.

Do you have any other insight on how Google chooses which page to feature in its snippet? Or any particular advice on how to optimize a web page for this? Thanks!
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2004
4543 posts
484 upvotes
van800 wrote:
Mar 24th, 2017 2:02 pm
I have a few websites that are top-5 ranked for a bunch of search terms. Recently I've noticed that Google snippets are becoming more and more common. I'm trying to adjust for this by adding lists, and creating stand-alone paragraphs with detailed snippet-length definitions. Both of these have helped us to get the snippet position in a few cases.

Do you have any other insight on how Google chooses which page to feature in its snippet? Or any particular advice on how to optimize a web page for this? Thanks!
I don't really have too much to share on it. My recommendations would be similar to other SEO aspects, make the content detailed and well researched (like it appears you are doing). Try to build links to the page, and use schema markup:
https://blog.kissmetrics.com/get-started-using-schema/

I don't really know how Google picks who gets what, but I'm sure it's a combination of all of the above. One other key factor I bet is time on page and possibly bounce rate. If Google sees your visitors spending a lot of time on your page it must have some valuable information in it. That's where the long detailed content comes into play. Days of 500page articles are long gone. After hiring a good writer now, and writing my own content, I realize how crappy some of my old content and writers are. After reading thousands of articles you can just see which articles were written as general topics intended for SEO vs well researched articles. At the time the general 500 word articles with keywords planted in them worked great, but Google is getting so smart it's starting to be able to indentify good content (with the help from factors mentioned above).

Congrats on the success.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2004
4543 posts
484 upvotes
AnnaG123 wrote:
Mar 29th, 2017 12:37 pm
How does someone improve their local seo?
Pretty big question! Some things to start with would be well written content, active social media, active in local communities and forums, submit to local directories. Little things like that would be a good start and are good things you can do regularly as well.
Jr. Member
Apr 24, 2013
151 posts
101 upvotes
Toronto
How is Google different in 2017 from few years ago (2015 for example). What has changed in terms of SEO?

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