Laura Betterly Interview

by David Jenyns on September 30, 2013

Name: Laura Betterly

Laura Betterly

Laura Betterly

Industry: Internet Marketing


Laura Betterly’s Bio: Laura Betterly is not your typical internet marketer. For one, she’s a rocker. She used to play the guitar for some punk bands back in the 70s and the 80s. She then shifted to marketing when she started which resulted to over 9 million downloads, a testament to her marketing skills. She now has her own SEO and internet marketing firm, helping businesses reach their goals.

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Interview Transcript:

Hi guys, David Jenyns here from and I’ve got a fantastic interview lined up ahead of us. We’re going to cover some really great material. I think it’s because of the person we’ve got on the interview. She is just so eclectic. Maybe I’ll take you through a little bit of her history.

All the way back at the start she was a punk muso. I have a little bit of an affinity with that with my Planet 13 days. She is an old school rocker, a real music lover. Then she took a few little deviations along the way to get to where she is today.

She went and did an accounting degree and then moved into helping computerize businesses. She really loves numbers and statistics. I think that gives her a really deep understanding of business and the way business works. At the core of business, it’s understanding those numbers and I think most people miss that. That gives her that business background.

She had kids and she still had that passion for the music scene. So she got brought back into it as she was part of a development team for the first dual layer MP3 player for DJs. That was pretty cool. It was right when the internet was taking off. She was part of the PR team to help launch it. This is where she developed a little bit of that love for marketing and realized she had a bit of a talent for it. She thought, maybe I need to start my own agency which she did. She’s been doing those sorts of things probably for the better part of twelve years.

As you can imagine, she’s obviously helped and worked with a lot of clients, but created products, done some speaking as well. She like a jack of all trades. Her company is I’ve really just scratched the surface there. The woman I’m talking about is Laura Betterly. You can actually find out more about her at

She’s got so many interesting stories. Like I said, she’s probably very strong in many areas, definitely in SEO and online marketing.

She’s also got a real talent for local and mobile SEO which is what I want to talk to her about today. She came up on my radar because we’ll both be speaking at Dori’s event coming up. Depending on when you’re listening to this audio, you might be able to get a ticket to Dori’s. Make sure you search SEO Rockstars Encore and find out a little bit more about the event there.

Let me just welcome you to the call Laura. I really appreciate you making the time.

Laura: No problem Dave. I appreciate you having me on.

David: Very cool. I gave a pretty detailed past there and I’ve probably missed a few things as well. Maybe by way of starting, if you can take us back to the moment when you realized, hey, marketing is my thing. Maybe it was just after you launched the dual layer MP3 player. What attracted you to the idea of online marketing and SEO? What made you see it as an opportunity?

Laura: There are a couple of things. One was when we started PC DJ, we had 6,000,000 downloads, which is insane for 1999 and 2000. I’ve always been an advocate of new technology. One thing I don’t mention a lot, but my Dad was the guy who developed instant replay that is used in sports television. So I grew up in a high tech environment where my Dad was always inventing things. For me, I didn’t come from a background of you can’t do something. It was always, let’s see how you can figure out how you to get something to happen.

With the dual MP3 player, we thought, great idea. We got a lot of traction and a lot of help because it was the beginning of that dotcom boom. The thing that attracted me to marketing was a simple dollars and cents thing. When I left, it had got very investor related. I’m very good at what I do but I don’t sit in a suit and go to a lot of corporate meetings and whatnot. If you look at a picture of me, I’ve got pink hair, I’m a middle aged crazy chick, Mum, whatever. You’re not going to find me in a board room very comfortably.

When I left, because of my accounting background, one thing I looked at, was what was successful, what made money? Guess what, it wasn’t selling the software. It was selling the advertising. There was a free player that was advertising driven. There was also a newsletter with over a million subscribers. The subscribers liked DJ music, they liked caffeine bags, they liked certain types of shoes. So really when you looked at that company, the largest source of income was advertising.

I realized all the people who I had already known in this very small but cool dotcom world, I was already halfway there as far as agency goes. I already had this experience, I had already done what we had done. Everything else was pretty much unknown. We knew how to email, we knew how to build some lists. SEO was crazy. All you had to do was anchor text the same colour as the background of your page over and over again, all sorts of things you look at now and you want to cringe. That works, but yes, there wasn’t as much competition.

Guess what? Google was just a company that was in competition with Yahoo! which could never not be number one. Forget it, AOL was killing it. In fact, just recently I moved and I found one of those things. I don’t know if they had this in Australia but in the US AOL would send out CD-ROMs to give you free hours of internet through dial-up. I found one of my original discs and I put it in a time capsule.

That’s what the internet was back then. There was no streaming video. The idea existed but there wasn’t enough bandwidth. Really we were talking about seeing the evolution of very new technology. Back then too, using the internet for commercial purposes was almost against the rules. People would get very angry at that. How dare you use this wonderful free thing to make money? It’s just the way it is now.

David: You’ve probably started to realize how much business changes and evolves. It’s really part of business to watch it evolve. I think if you just stay still and you don’t move, you’ll end up through evolution, evolved out. We’re seeing a lot of this change happen right now.

You were there right at the start when SEO started to bubble up and you talked about some of the things you were doing back then. That’s when everybody was starting to get excited and you were on the front of that train. What was that like and do you think SEO lived up to the expectation that everybody had about it?

Laura: It’s funny because back then I was really more of a marketing and PR person. What I did was, I did strategy, I spoke in front of various audiences, I dealt with the celebrities who we were working with, keeping them happy and making sure there was always enough being said about us offline and online. When we wanted traffic, it was very easy to rank email lists. used to do an email for us and we’d get 47,000 opt ins. It was ridiculous, like nothing you’d see now.

SEO was new. We did a few little things but no one actually knew what was working or what wasn’t. We didn’t even know what to call it back then. I think primarily what I do or the way I like to look at it is, I look at I generate traffic. Where that traffic comes from, sometimes it’s paid, sometimes it’s mobile, sometimes it’s SEO, sometimes it’s from video views. There are all sorts of different places and pockets to get traffic.

The way the game is played it ebbs and flows what is working and what isn’t and what’s getting banned and what’s not. Primarily I think the most important thing is to not get stuck in one marketing channel. I think there are a huge amount of channels out there. If you’re in ecommerce SEOing a store on is so easy. If you’re in a competitive market you’re better off doing that than building your own store. There are downsides to that too because there are extra high fees and there are lot of different things that go on with that.

But I think each market independently, there is a lot of opportunity and you have to really sit down and from a strategy point of view, say ok, traffic sent to a good page will net you cash. Good traffic. You can buy rubbish traffic and it’s not going to convert. You can buy good traffic and send it to a bad page and it won’t convert.

You’ve got to get that happy spot where you have all the things singing in harmony. If you do that, then it’s a rocket ride and it’s a lot of fun. Until you get that, it’s a bit of a game and it can be a bit frustrating. I think that technology as it sits now still levels the playing field for your average entrepreneur. There is a lot more opportunity that exists today than existed three years ago because of this. That’s very exciting to me.

David: What you just talked about there is really showing your business background and understanding the way business works. Some people who’ve built up SEO companies when some of the changes happened and some of the rules changed and the traffic source wasn’t necessarily as strong or as easily predictable as it was previously, a lot of them came unstuck.

Thinking of it in terms of, hey, I drive traffic and really what I do is I find the methods. I’m not tied to any one particular method. I think that’s why you’re so strong in so many different areas. You understand there are a lot of moving pieces. Now more than ever, to be successful online and market online, you need to be coming at it from many different angles.

With that in mind, do you see SEO as still playing a really important role? Is it just part of the puzzle, one of many pieces or where do you see it fitting now?

Laura: I have a love/hate relationship with SEO, I have to be honest with you. When I’ve got some really good rankings, I absolutely love it. Then when Google changes the algorithm or throws another furry animal at us, it gets me angry.

For example, I was ranking number one for the term ‘marketing firm’ for about probably close to five years. That was my money term too. I’ll tell you why. I bought a lot of AdWords prior. I had got sick a few years ago and I couldn’t pay for AdWords anymore. But I like AdWords for a few things. One of the things I like AdWords for is for figuring out what are my money terms and what are my converting terms. It’s not great to go ahead and SEO for a term that gets you traffic that doesn’t convert. It is pointless.

I found when I looked at it that people who searched the term marketing firm actually wrote out checks made out to me. So I thought that was a good term to end up being number one for. What Google did is they changed that term so it is now no longer a national term. It is now what is considered as a local intent term. So I show up great locally in Tampa Bay which is not a bad place to show up but my business is not dependent on my location. Google has decided that it is. That gets me a little snarly.

David: It’s funny you say that. That’s a really important distinction. Maybe we could drill down into a little bit about that, the idea of these national terms versus local terms. Do you have any insight on how it determines that? Is that done algorithmically?

Laura: I think marketing firm is one of those ones that are a little in the grey area as far as is it a local search or is it a national search. But it’s pretty simple for the most part to know local versus national. For example, I’m here in the US. If I’m sitting in my home in Palm Harbor, Florida and I type in the term ‘dentist’, I pretty much want a dentist who is in Palm Harbor, Florida. I don’t want one who is in San Francisco. That’s not going to help me. So that is very much a local centric keyword. It doesn’t matter if I type in dentist Palm Harbor, or dentist or toothache, I want a dentist and I want one who is local to me right now.

That becomes even more so if I am on my cell phone and I have a toothache and I search on my Google Maps for a dentist. It’s going to get me one who is pretty close to me as opposed to one who is across the country. So that is a determining factor.

Then there are things that are entertainment based. If I’m looking for a restaurant, unless I say specifically that I’m going to Sacramento and I want a restaurant in Sacramento, it’s going to serve up restaurants that are based on my location. It used to freak me out that Google knew my location, but since HTML5 has pretty much become the standard, it does have the ability to see where you’re located, even if you’re on a PC. Any good smartphone, unless you know how to set it so it doesn’t show your location, will figure out where you are and find you the closest whatever you’re looking for: hairdresser, restaurant, dentist, shoe store. These are all local intent types of things.

When you start getting into a grey area which is mine, some people might want to work with a marketing company that is local to them. In fact I find if I sit in front of somebody as opposed to talking to them on the phone, I close a higher percentage of people who actually see me. But I am not locked into just working in the Tampa Bay area. In fact my largest clients are not from here locally, they’re in New York, they’re in California and they’re all over the world.

Google does what Google does on that and who knows, I might find in six months they change the algorithm on it and I’ll be number one again. It’s hard to say, very hard to say. But the simplicity of it is you should look at your own keywords or what you think are your keywords and do a search.

Now the first thing is when you’re doing a Google search, if a map shows up, or something that looks like a carousel, then you know you’re absolutely, completely without a doubt dealing with local. Sometimes you can have a local intent keyword that doesn’t trigger a local map and carousel and whatnot. Even though that’s local intent, you would handle that from an SEO perspective like any other SEO term. Make sense?

David: Yes, one hundred percent. I think that’s definitely one of the big changes that we’re seeing is Google really embracing mobile. We’re seeing such a huge rise in trend and people using that technology. Google realizes it and they’re starting to incorporate it in. It still feels clunky because it’s still relatively speaking early days when it comes to understanding that type of data. I know they’re trying to push Google Plus together and then there is Google Maps.

At the moment, it’s quite difficult for some businesses to understand, well, where do you jump? You need to fill out both of those profiles. It feels like it’s a basket case.

Laura: It’s crazy Dave. Here’s the thing. If you have a local bricks and mortar type business where people walk in and that’s local, then you do have to have your Google Plus local page, you do have to have a decent website, you do have to make sure you’re mobile optimized because a lot of traffic does come from mobile. Then there are all sorts of ranking factors you have for your normal SEO but you have additional ranking factors that go into local.

It’s very funny because when I first started talking about mobile, we were doing some tests and we were getting really cheap mobile clicks. Because they were so cheap it didn’t matter how horrible our pages were or whatever, it would usually ROI fairly well. Some of the bigger ad networks were bought by Google and otherwise and we’ve been testing it. The only thing that seems to convert well from a local standpoint or a mobile is something that is local intended. If I was on my Google Maps on my iPhone and I was looking for an Italian restaurant, that would convert ok.

But, for example, I’m doing a lot of facebook ads right now, so I’ve been testing a lot of that. If you saw what happened in the news recently, facebook’s stock is going up because they are embracing mobile. Over fifty percent of all traffic to facebook is actually on mobile. Guess what? With the exception of app downloads, I’ve tested this, I won’t advertise on mobile because nobody clicks though. It’s a fast medium.

You’ve got to remember when somebody is on a mobile device, you don’t have a lot of space. If you’re like me, over fifty, if I don’t have my magnifying glass on I can’t read half the things on it anyway. I have an iPad mini for that. You have to just realize when somebody is on a mobile device they’re moving around. They want just the facts. They want their answer right that minute or they just want to see what their friends have to say while they’re in line waiting to pay for their groceries and whatnot.

You’ve got to realize that somebody who is on a mobile device is in a different mindset to somebody who is sitting looking at a tablet in their home or their 27 inch iMac and whatnot. It’s interesting but you have to look at not only traffic sources and how you’re getting traffic but you have to look at based on the device somebody is visiting you from. What are their habits? I’m finding guys who are on mobile devices don’t want to opt into your webinar because they’re not interested.

David: It really makes sense because when you think about it, it’s really good marketing, I think it was Claude Hopkins, talks about this idea of meeting the conversation that is going on in your prospect’s mind. So when someone is searching on mobile that gives us a really good insight into where they are.

Just as you were saying, their conversation in their mind isn’t how do I sign up for a webinar, it’s hey I’m looking either to socialize or to get a really quick result for something that I’m looking for. I’m not in research mode, I’m not keen to enter in my credit card details if I have to enter in one digit at a time and things like that. That’s why it’s perhaps easier to make quick, low price purchases through the App Store on your iPhone. But for a lot of the other things, until they have ways to store that credit card information, I think that will help people to spend more and more online.

Laura: Yes, and there is actually a chip that exists. It is actually a near field communication chip. I was really surprised it wasn’t in the iPhone 5. It’s in some Android devices. We’re really going to a chip based society which has a whole bunch of other implications: going cashless and having our identities and where we are and being under surveillance, that’s another conversation for another day.

Where I see cell phone technology going is that your phone is your ID, is your credit card, is your checking account all in one spot that would be password protected. It will also be the device we can push based on your location and your interest: coupons when you’re at the mall, when you’re passing Bed, Bath and Beyond and whatnot. You can get text that says, oh, you’re close to here. You have a 20% coupon you haven’t used yet.

If you look on the new iPhones in the new iOS there’s something called Passbook. This is actually interesting and you have places like Target and Apple and Sephora and Klout that all seem to be part of this. It was pretty interesting, I got as part of an affiliate program a couple of Apple gift certificates. I was able to load them on Passbook on my phone. When I went to the Apple store I paid for it with the gift certificate which was on my phone.

The freaky thing was, I had $30 left on this gift certificate and I was in a mall that had an Apple store. It popped up on my phone, you have $30 on your gift certificate and you’re right by the apple store. Why don’t you go and redeem it? I said, wow, that’s pretty freaky. But that’s where it’s going.

David: I think where some really big industries are going to flourish is in these data collection industries. You’ve got companies like facebook collecting all this massive amount of data about the user. When they mesh that together, once they start to merge that with your spending habits and they’ve got your interests and then they start to market, that will be huge.

Laura: Dave, they’ve already done it here in the US with facebook. We have this thing called partner categories. You don’t have it in Australia yet. But if you advertise on facebook and you’re here in the States, they use the more advanced Power Editor which allows you to do more things. They have this thing called partner categories and partner categories are crazy. Not only do you have your audiences and whatnot, you can actually pick things like people who are more likely to buy a BMW this year.

So not only are you hitting with location, you can hit with income targets, profession, do they donate, do they buy things online, do they read The Wall Street Journal, on and on and on. As an advertiser it’s pretty cool because the better you can get your customer avatar and you know who it is the most likely person to be in front of, the better you can do.

I love search, AdWords, SEO, because what you’re doing you’re taking a person’s interest at that moment. Somebody searches blue widgets, you know they’re looking for blue widgets. You just know it. So that’s a very qualified prospect come to your site and you can say, hey, I know everything about blue widgets. I’ll give you the best price on blue widgets. In fact if you call me about blue widgets, I’ll give you a blue widget deal and that’s great.

Now on facebook and these other media, you can go ahead and say, well, I know this guy likes blue widgets. While he’s hanging out, I can hit him over the head with communication and maybe get his attention. So it’s a whole different way of marketing than typical search.

But AdWords just did a really weird thing. You know retargeting. Somebody goes to your website, you follow them with banners and other websites. You can now retarget on facebook. Now what AdWords has done what Google has done, if somebody has typed in blue widgets and they didn’t click on your AdWords ad, you will be able to retarget them based on their keywords. That’s crazy.

David: It’s funny you talking about some of these new trends that are starting to come out. We saw I think the story about Target in the US, this is going back a few years now. This technology has come in leaps and bounds since then. They had that story where there was the daughter who was making purchases on her Target card. They knew by the order purchases that she was making that she was pregnant. So they started sending her an advertisement with baby products and things like that.

The father opened it up and said, what’s going on here? He called up Target, went off at them and said what are you doing sending my sixteen year old daughter information about pregnancy and kids and all that type of thing? Then he called back on Monday morning and said, I’m sorry, but you were right and I just didn’t know. My daughter is pregnant. That’s when it gets to a really freaky level.

Laura: Yes, I’ll tell you something. There are actually some rulings on that particular thing. It’s interesting that you say that because Google has been hit very hard by the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities Exchange Commission for a lot of different things and a lot of people don’t like them., myself included some times. They’ve become like the advertising Nazis, what you can and cannot do and what they consider your website should or should not have and transparency. Google compliance from an AdWords standpoint is just incredibly hard.

About six months ago, they changed the retargeting rules. Personally identifiable information, like if you’re pregnant or not, you can no longer retarget based on that, at least here in the States. I don’t know how it is where you are. If it’s personally identifiable, let’s say it’s somebody who is pregnant, let’s say it’s somebody dealing with erectile dysfunction or fertility issues, dating problems. There are certain things that you can not retarget, at least from an AdWords standpoint.

It’s very funny because you look at facebook. Facebook is now trying to please Wall Street. You can use squeeze pages and the rules and regulations are not as strict as they are with Google. But that is going to change as it matures and something else new will come out that will be less stringent and that a lot of people will jump ship for.

But right now for example, I can get leads for 80c on facebook, so I’m spending money on facebook. I’m not spending as much on AdWords because I don’t want to spend $4 a click. You’ll see that this happens but there is a maturity that happens in an area. AdWords is now actually fairly mature. So on these things like personally identifiable information, they’ve clamped down on in a big sort of way. If you’re using things like SiteScout or some of the second or third party remnant banners, you can still retarget using some of that personally identifying information. But that is going to change.

There is such a line on privacy. It’s crazy. You’re going to laugh. Google knows everything. My son is using my iPad right now and it’s logged into my Google account. I log in on Chrome. What do I see? Google and this last search was Miley Cyrus naked. I said, dude, what are you doing? If you’re going to do it, clear the cookies so I don’t have to see it. Nonetheless, they know everything, so there you go.

David: It’s going to be the art, especially for the companies that are collecting this data, the art comes in marketing it where it doesn’t feel so freaky. So next to those baby products, they’ll put the ride-on lawn mower. So you’ll be marketed to, but it won’t necessarily feel like you’re being marketed to. It’s just because it’s early days and people haven’t learned yet.

Laura: I know and some companies don’t have retargeting quite right. If you go to a website and you actually buy, they should stop showing you the banner for it because that’s the way it goes.

For example, I think I’ve told you this before. I like buying domains and I own a lot of pairs of shoes on top of that. I’ll go ahead and I’ll look at shoes on let’s say Zappos or Shoebuy and it will follow me everywhere, to the point where I finally say, ok, I’m buying you. I maybe wouldn’t have bought it before. So there are certain companies that are relentless in their retargeting. It works! I’ve got to tell you, I absolutely have bought things that I was sort of interested in but said, oh, I don’t want to spend the money right now. Seeing it over and over again I finally said, ok, I’m typing in my credit card right now, I want it.

David: You’re the reason that it’s working. You’re perpetuating it. I think you touched on another really important thing. There’s a guy here in Melbourne who I chat with who is really into AdWords. The big shift that is happening there and they’re making those moves. That was why I was interested to hear what you were saying about privacy.

The next big move that they’re looking at doing is changing the way that you view Analytics, not per unique user or per unique visit. It will be by visitor. That way it’s tracking. They already do that a little bit with the funnels. Their whole purpose is you really want to get that person and track them through that whole life cycle and the way that they interact with your website.

Google obviously has access to so many different properties. You might just get access to the front end of that through your Analytics and how they engage with your site. But if they’re thinking like that, that means they’re capturing all of the other data and they’re still building these profiles around you.

Laura: Absolutely. But here’s the thing, Analytics is easy and it’s free. We failed by saying, it’s free, it integrates with Raven Tools, it integrates with this, ok I’ll use it. We basically gave away a lot of information to Google. I’m just as guilty of it as many. But Google giveth and then it taketh away. When 45% of the traffic, they won’t let me know what the search query was, gets me angry. That’s number one.

Number two, how about the recent changes to the keyword tools? Is that really helpful? It’s just insane. How can you run a business and I’m talking about you and me Dave, not them, because they’ve figured out whatever they’ve figured out. You have to have procedures to figure out what is the correct move from a marketing standpoint, not only from AdWords but SEO. What are competitors doing, on and on and on.

We use a lot of competitive intelligence tools that give us data, but at the same time, that keyword tool gave us a lot of information on commercial intent when we wanted to SEO or we wanted to tell somebody what they should cut out of their budget every month for paid advertising.

David: This comes back to the point you were making earlier, really the business that you’re in is more about how do I drive leads and traffic? It doesn’t really matter where that’s coming from, not getting tied to a particular tool. You don’t want to build your whole business around someone else’s platform, they change the rules and bang, you’re out of business. You’ve got to have these multiple streams.

Laura: Exactly, but that still doesn’t mean that the tools that we have become dependant on and then they’re taken away, it still doesn’t take away the pain of that unfortunately.

David: You can’t fight it though.

Laura: Yes. Maybe I’m just getting old. I’m definitely of the opinion that there’s got to be a better way.

David: Google is evil.

Laura: I don’t necessarily disagree with you on that. If you remember it was part of their mission statement, do no evil, back in the day. They don’t talk about that much anymore.

David: This is classic you can’t think of not doing something without first thinking about it. So you can’t say, don’t think about a blue elephant because straight away you think about a blue elephant. By saying do no evil, they’ve just reinforced it into their subconscious that they’re always thinking about evil.

Laura: I know. But the other thing is and a lot of people don’t realize, I’m sure you do, Google says it’s a search engine but it’s really an advertising platform. When they stir up the results with a Penguin and a Panda and a squirrel, whatever they want to call it, let’s consider the guys who were in the first top positions who were making money and now aren’t. Maybe they were a little egregious on their linking structure but their sites were good and they were making money on it.

Google unilaterally say, your site is bad. They don’t quite say it that way, they say there are quality issues. But at the end of they day, the real push in my opinion is that Google is an advertising company. Those guys who had got the free traffic for that period of time are now hurting and they’re going to be willing to pay that $13 a click to get their traffic back because they’re out of business otherwise.

David: That sounds like a drug dealer, someone who just gives them the first hit for free.

Laura: It’s totally Google crack. There are some great guys out there. I’m sure you know Eric Lancheres who does the Panda and Penguin recovery. If you don’t, you’ll meet him at Rockstars. He’s a Canadian guy who is just really smart on this material. He figured out a lot of different things, looking at the time people were on your site and looking at different structures to increase engagement and which links are the bad links to get rid of and what are the proper link densities so you don’t look like you’re building links although you are and whatnot. So it is a little bit of a cat and mouse game.

The truth of the matter is eighty percent of the traffic at least from a search based intent goes is Google. A lot of people said they’ve been optimizing for Bing and Yahoo! but I find that traffic is pretty bad. In fact we had started doing some paid ads with them thinking that the cost per lead would go down. It did, but there was so much click fraud that it didn’t matter, it ended up being higher. When we pointed this out, they said, oh, we’ll give you a little bit of credit, $12. Excuse me, you’ve got to be kidding me.

David: It sounds like now you are testing a lot of these different methods. When a client starts working with you, you still have quite a few tools in your tool belt. What is the process for identifying what are we actually going to throw at this?

Laura: I call this a traffic blueprint but really what it is is a competitor keyword research. Basically I will pull what they’re ranking for, I will do a full analysis of their website. I will look at what they’ve done in the past and what worked and what hasn’t. Then I’ll go ahead and I’ll go to town on competitors. I’ll see what their websites have in common that these guys don’t have, I’ll see where are they buying their media, what do their banners look like, are they on Facebook? Then I’ll also look at landing pages, conversions, all those things.

Basically it’s like going to the doctor and doing a really good check up where you get blood tests and an MRI and whatnot. Then a few weeks later you’d sit there and say you’re really healthy or you’ve got this going on. That’s the only way to do it really correctly. It’s to look at the website and the client as a whole in its market.

Sometimes I might come back after doing that and say I don’t think you’re in a winnable market. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens occasionally. If somebody comes to me with health insurance or something where you have all these huge authority sites that have tons of marketing dollars behind it and you want to be able to rank even locally on it, I won’t even take it on. I don’t believe that market is available anymore.

David: You look at it in that whole marketing perspective. Similarly with SEO now, SEO doesn’t make sense for everybody. The cost of SEO is obviously being pushed up because a lot of the automated things that we could use before, which would keep the cost down, now a lot of it is more manual. That pushes the cost of SEO up.

Laura: It’s a shame because the Philippines is looking for work now.

David: That’s right. It was a huge industry booster over there. We still have a good sized team over there, but it’s really about leveling up that quality. That’s really where it’s at.

Laura: For functions and even for programming the Philippines are fine but now the game has been so further upped as far as quality goes, you really can’t have anyone unless they’ve had their professorship in English write for you. I just over and over again had to go and actually hire people from here. With the quality of education in the United States, even when you go to hire somebody who is a college graduate, you’re struggling. I look at the writing and I say, really?

David: The way that we’re getting around it, really it’s creating fast ways for the client to be able to generate the content themselves. Some clients for us really embrace the idea of, hey we’ll run a half-day workshop for them. Then we can use that as the seed piece of content that you then split out to transcribe and convert into articles and cutting up into pieces for YouTube, taking the audio and loading to iTunes. It’s more of a syndication.

Laura: I have a client who is in personal development. I look at this and I say how long is it going to take, how much is it going to cost? Why don’t I just buy a whole bunch of facebook ads and I’m getting two thousand leads a day for $1500. Why would I do anything else?

David: I think to know what a lead is worth and also thinking about what the long term play is, there are benefits that come from running workshops and things. You get dual benefit. Not only is it good for obviously the SEO fodder but also positioning. You’ve also got reasons to reach out and have an ongoing conversation with good high quality engagement pieces for your email list.

There is more benefit than just, hey, this is the new form of SEO.

That’s really where I feel marketing is going now. It’s identifying the things that are going to get you the most leverage. If you need to drive traffic and you’ve got a really good converting sales funnel and you know how much a client is actually worth for you and you can acquire that lead through some sort of advertising channel like Facebook, then yes. It’s almost that art of doing the analysis of the client up front, finding out where the holes are within their business and plugging those.

I think that’s where I see your skill. It goes back all the way through I think to your accounting days way back then. It’s looking at businesses in terms of numbers and seeing where am I broken?

Laura: Yes exactly and there are some guys who I’m doing Panda recoveries and SEO for. But in some markets like this woman I was telling you about in personal development for every dollar I spend because their funnel is as good as it is, it makes $5. I’m going to do that every day. I know Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are better than Saturdays and Sundays. I know the market really well but nonetheless that is about as easy as it gets.

With other ones, if your specialty is carpet cleaning or water filters, then it’s not going to be the case. You’re not going to get water filter enthusiasts buying water filters on Facebook.

David: I think the whole changing and updating of algorithms, if anything it’s just done a fantastic cleanout. I come from a stock market background. When you’re in a rising market and you’re in the dotcom boom, when that happened, everybody felt like they were a genius. They were confusing being in the right place at the right time with their skill. When the market started to turn and they didn’t have stop losses or position sizing to make sure they got out of the market, they lost all of their money. But on the way up they thought they were these geniuses.

It’s not until you see a change in the tide that you start to sort those who have a business and understand how business works from those who are just riding a little opportunity. The window of opportunity now for SEO has shrunk significantly and we’re starting to see that division. That’s when we’re starting to see people like yourself rise up and say, hang on, this is more than just a little strategy here. This is business.

In the tail end of the call, where do you see things heading? Are there any other trends that you’re spotting? You’re using some of these new different mediums to drive traffic. Are there any other ones that are on the cutting edge right now that you are saying, hey, this is really working for me?

Laura: I think that Facebook right now is probably my number one way of driving traffic in a lot of markets and using retargeting. At the same time, I don’t know how long we have in there. That’s the thing, do we have six months, do we have eighteen months before it matures? So I’m always going to be on the lookout for other ones.

David: And not being tied, I think that’s the best thing. If people want to find out more, Laura, about you and what you do, I know I mentioned your website, Is that the best place to keep an eye on what you’re up to?

Laura: Yes, that’s the best place because you can personally contact me there. You can see what I’m doing, the info products I have, the other websites that I run, all those things.

David: Very cool. Thank you so much for your time. You’ve been very generous. I’m very much looking forward to catching up with you in person at Dori’s. I know this call went a little bit off track as far as I wanted to dig into some of the factors with local. Maybe we’ll have a part two at Dori’s.

Laura: Ok. I’m game.

David: Good. Thanks, catch you later, Laura.

Laura: Alright. Thanks.

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