HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

Tips on how anyone can almost get anything to the top of Google, by Jason McDonald:

  • To get your listing to the top of Google is part inspiration and part perspiration
  • You don't have to be a computer nerd or have a Ph.D. to get to the top of the search engines
  • Successful optimization depends on the competitiveness of your keywords
  • Use Google reviews, Twitter and other review sites like Yelp to improve traffic. Also, try and act like a customer who knows nothing about your business. How would they search for you? What questions would they ask?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: – HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

[just click to tweet]

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

To get to the top of Google it takes a combination of inspiration and perspiration.
Listen to this interview for several tips on how to improve SEO

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Doug: Well welcome back listeners to another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today I think you're really going to enjoy our conversation. I've got a guest with me in the studio, Jason McDonald. Jason teaches business owners the art and science of getting anything to the top of search engines. He's the director of JM Internet Group, and he's a brilliant SEO and digital marketing expert. He's the author of several books, Amazon bestsellers digital marketing books SEO Fitness Workbook, Social Media Marketing Workbook, and the AdWords Workbook.

In 1994, before he started digital marketing was even a big thing, Jason started his own technology focused blog on the domain EG3.com. He reached over 50,000 subscribers with an embedded system in the engineering community worldwide. Today through teaching digital marketing courses and corporate workshops, Jason pursues his passion for taking complex topics and making them easy and practical for small business and marketers to understand.

So, I'd like to welcome you to the show today.

Jason McDonald: Thank you for having me.

Doug: So, is there anything that I may have missed in your bio or your introduction?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, I am a former cat person who is now a passionate dog person, I think you forgot to mention that.

Doug: That's … actually, I'm so happy to hear that.

Jason McDonald: It's a transition that few people make and even fewer make successfully.

Doug: Okay, well, maybe we'll save it for another conversation how you made that transition, but looking at your background, you have so much to offer. And one of the things that really intrigued me was that you said you can help anybody get anything to the top of the search engine. Do you wanna expand just a little bit on that?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, so, my philosophy about search engine optimization, is sort of an inspiration, perspiration philosophy. So I think a lot of people are like inspiration, they're like, “Wow, I'm so excited and do this so you can make a gazillion dollars.” And then you're like, “What do I actually do?” Right? What's actually concrete about how to do it? And then there are sort of like the whole Dummies books that you'll find on Amazon. Those are what I call perspiration books. Where you're just like, in the weeds and you're changing your .htaccess file and you're all this stuff and you're like, “How does this fit in the big picture?” And what I sort of try to train people to do is sort of find that balance between those two aspects of digital marketing and then implement it. And so with a little knowledge, you need knowledge and a little passion but with a fair amount of hard work, you really can within reason, get almost anything up there and it can work for your business. And that's … I like the practical, hands-on part of it as much as I like the inspiration like, we're so excited part of it.

Doug: So what are some of the myths that you'd find around that statement? Now I'm not picking on the statement, I love the idea that we can get stuff to the top of Google. I mean, obviously, there's a number of reasons why it's good for our business. So what are some of the myths around first paid rankings?

Jason McDonald: I would say one of the myths that people have that is a huge misunderstanding, is that people think it's a purely technical problem. I think a big myth that people have about search engine optimization is that only nerds, only people that have PhDs from Yale University in Computer Science can do this. And that's not … I'm not sure was ever true, but it's really not true today in an environment in which because of changes at Google, semantic search, the movement to natural language, the movement to content marketing. A lot of practical marketing aspects can really help. And you don't need to be a Ph.D. in Computer Science to do this. Even though it's been very much mystified by Google and by the kind of techno-nerds. So I think that's a huge myth, is that only computer nerds can do this. That really is not true. I think that's the first myth that I would say.

And the second myth, sort of in somewhat contradiction to the first one, is that it's always changing. Which is not really true as well. The basic principles evolve, but they don't change nearly as rapidly as people think. And so again … that's why my first book is called the Fitness Workbook, and here's a newsflash if you'd like to get fit, eat less and exercise more. Right? That has not changed.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: – HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

[just click to tweet]

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

To get to the top of Google it takes a combination of inspiration and perspiration.
Listen to this interview for several tips on how to improve SEO

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Doug: That's so–

Jason McDonald: The fads of you know … whatever the current fad is. So it's kinda similar. The basic stuff is very high value, and almost anyone can do it if they put their mind to it.

Doug: Well I guess in this day and age where I call it the microwave mentality, we want everything instantly.

Jason McDonald: Absolutely, yes. That's good … instant gratification.

Doug: So in a practical sense, so I'm an entrepreneur, I've got a website or I've got a WordPress blog and I want to start having my site rank better. What sort of time commitment, or what's a realistic expectation? Because you talked about eat less and exercise more. And what I tell people is when I was heavy, I was fat, I didn't get fat in the day, I just gained a pound a month so you do that for 12 months and for several years and guess what? You have a problem. So how long should people … and it took me that long to remove it right? So how long should people expect to invest to get some ROI?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, so I hate to say this but it depends, right? So here's what it depends on. So, first and foremost it depends on the competitive level of the keywords. So if you say, “Hey, I want to be number one for car insurance.” I'm like, “Okay, great. You have a budget of a couple hundred thousand per month and you've got a staff of 55 people to work.” Right? But that's very different if you say, “I want to be number one for hair transplant Vancouver.” That's very doable and very much within the reach of a small business. Or let's say you have some very unique widget that is sort of a grows light for cannabis plants, right? Something very, very narrow, very trendy. That's a different animal. So the first thing is, it's gonna depend on the competitive level and how nichey something is. Then once you know that, once you know your keywords and you know the competitive landscape, then there's some sort of basic stuff you need to know about SEO just like you'd have to know some things about physical fitness.

And then, for most small businesses that are up and running and have a viable website and a decent product and the business is successful because it's not trying to do everything for everyone. Maybe four, five hours a month is really what's required of the small business owner to really stay on top, again with the little knowledge. So it's not the kind of time commitment that you'd think, it's a knowledge commitment. Like, you have to know how to do it in the right way. And then you also have to be realistic. You can't have some unrealistic goal like I want to be number one for car insurance. You've gotta choose your battles.

Doug: Yeah, fair comment. And one of the things I learned about SEO just kind of by accident, is when I started the podcast I transcribed all of the episodes. And I think it speaks to your comment about natural language because by the time you and I are finished talking today we're gonna have a transcription that's gonna probably be between five and six thousand words.

Jason McDonald: Yeah, well sure. I mean, this is one of the big trends is, Google … I mean look at the Google devices in your home, look at Alexa. One of the trends that they are very keen on and of things to do in life is don't fight the trends, try to work with them. One of the trends that they're very keen on is natural language speech, so writing in such a way, writing in a way that people speak is a huge trend and this gets to kind of the earlier problem, right? It's not as technical as it used to be because if you literally … if you understand that people go to Google and they … cannabis for some reason is on my mind, not because I'm pro-cannabis but because this is kind of out there and I get weird inquiries over the web and I'm getting a lot of these, “We're starting a cannabis farm and we wanna be number one.” And I'm like, “Okay, I don't support drugs so I won't take your project.” But I'm very interested in the linguistic. Like, how did marijuana become cannabis suddenly, right?

But anywho, there is this idea of knowing the search that people are gonna talk to their machine. They're gonna say, “Google, what is a grow light for cannabis plants?” And then spitting that back to Google by writing in the way that you talk is a new emerging sort of the tip of SEO. So in a certain way, it's really good news, right? If you can just speak in relatively good English and correct sentences and you can transcribe it, then boom, you can pretty much blog.

Doug: That's interesting because one of the things I learned again, just by the process of having the podcast, as I have several clients that we do work for and their challenge with writing blog posts. So I've taken now to using my podcasting equipment just to simply interview them and then publish the interview, again like you said, so it's natural language. And it's not a big time commitment, it's a 20, 30-minute commitment to getting a ton of relevant content on your website. Do you have any feedback or maybe tips or suggestions in that space?

Jason McDonald: Yes, so let's just focus on SEO. So I have a couple clients who do hair transplants, right? And I need one myself, that's another story. But so, think like people speak like what they do. So people will start with what is a hair transplant? Very soon they're gonna realize there's two big technologies, there's what's called FUE, Follicular Unit Extraction and FUT, Follicular Unit Transplantation. So then how do people sort of talk to their Google devices? You know, what is FUE? What is Follicular Unit Extraction? And then people will use words like, best, top, top rated. So they'll say, “Hey, Google. What is the best hair transplant in the Bay Area?” Well then guess what? If you write a blog post that's like, “How do you choose the best hair transplant in the Bay Area?” You're literally kind of spitting back at Google the answers to the questions that people are asking.

The other thing, pay attention, right? Pay attention to what you see in the search space. If you go to Google and you type in searches like, what is a hair transplant? What is Follicular Unit Extraction? You'll see what are called the answer boxes. So these answer boxes are emerging on Google and this is maybe a two, three-year-old thing but it's becoming more and more important. And those answer boxes are both on the visual web when you're looking at the search engine, but what they're really getting to is artificial intelligence, when you're talking to Siri when you're talking to a Google device, when you're talking to Alexa. And they're trending towards that.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: – HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

[just click to tweet]

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

To get to the top of Google it takes a combination of inspiration and perspiration.
Listen to this interview for several tips on how to improve SEO

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

So the take away, the practical take away for someone in the audience is figuring out what your company sells, and then figure out the derivations of the questions that your customers are asking, and then answer those questions kind of with the little tips and tricks I'm going to teach you to say in SEO on your blog, and you can show for what's called the answer box on Google and guess what? You're looking to the future, you're gonna show when the digital device is talking to that person. So that's where you need to know the keywords, you need to know the questions, and then from there, you need to create the content. So it's a little train of sequential events that people need to know.

Doug: So this sort of shifts gears slightly, and talk a little bit about social media. So how does social media compliment or interact with your SEO strategy, or does it?

Jason McDonald: It does. There's a big misunderstanding here though. So first and foremost, it's kind of funny. You've got your people that do SEO, you've got your people that do social media. And I'm a bit of a Jack of all trades, I really wanna know all the pieces of digital marketing, and that's a useful thing to do. SEO is heavily influenced by review marketing. By reviews on Google, reviews on Yelp, if you're an attorney, reviews on a site like Avvo.com. But for whatever reason, the social media crowd, they're fixated on Snapchat and Instagram and all that. Which is great and important. But reviews kinda got caught betwixt in between. So the SEO people don't understand review marketing and they think of it as social media. And the social media crowd looks at reviews and thinks of it like it's SEO. And guess what? It's extremely high value, especially to local businesses.

So if you're a local business, pizza or hair salon or massage therapist, just go look at your Google searches and you're gonna see that Google snack pack. So the first big take away is that reviews, especially on Google, but also on Yelp, are very important and influence SEO heavily. And reviews kind of straddle SEO and social, right? So that's one take away that I think people really miss.

The second take away is if … if you come to me and say, “I wanna rank on Google for fill in the blank keyword. I wanna rank on Google for organic grow lights for cannabis.” Okay, fine. If you wanna do that, Twitter is the most important network to Google. ‘Cause Google+ failed, it's kind of a complete failure. And Facebook, right? Google and Facebook no likey. That doesn't work very well. So you've gotta kinda look at the landscape. And Google and Twitter have a partnership where Google kind of slurps the content from Twitter. Twitter's really important for search because how does Google know a trending topic? Down here in America, USA, we are just all infatuated with our President. And what does this guy do? He tweets 24 hours a day.

So, Twitter is how you find out that trending news not just about Donald Trump, love him or hate him, whatever. But Google really … it pays a lot of attention to Twitter for trending topics. So then this speaks to why as an SEO person, as a person who wants to rank on Google, you need to play the Twitter game if only to use Twitter to influence Google. So Twitter and reviews are two areas where social really impacts SEO. And I think both of those are often overlooked.

Doug:    I'm really happy you said that. I mean, I'm … the more I talk to you, I think the more I'm liking you. You like dogs not cats and now you like Twitter. And my friend's just saying, “Twitter? Who uses Twitter?”

Jason McDonald: Now, I don't dislike cats, don't get me wrong. I like cats. I just like dogs better.

Doug: Okay, so–

Jason McDonald: I don't wanna get spammed by the haters of the cat community. I like cats. I just like dogs better. And Twitter–

Doug: Fair, enough, yeah.

Jason McDonald: Twitter is a social media that I think has sort of … it's gone through every cycle, right? It was really faddy and everyone did it and it was great, it was like the top of the fad cycle. And then it crashed, everyone hated it, it was so stupid, and it was dead. And now it's kind of like, back from the dead and it's for better or for worse, it's been helped by the fact that the President tweets 24 hours a day. So it's kind of going through these cycles. But Twitter, there's a lot of cool stuff on Twitter that is important. There's a lot of junk and craziness, but yeah. Twitter's cool.

Doug: Well and I'm a big fan of the review sites. I mean, Yelp is my best friend when I travel. You used the example of San Francisco, and I get into San Francisco and I stay down on 4th and Market, there's a lot of restaurants down there. And I pull up Twitter, or I pull up the Yelp rather, find out what I want, then I go talk to the concierge and say, “These are the places I'd really like to get into, can you book me in?” So it's good to hear that the review sites are so well and growing.

Jason McDonald: Well, and the Google review too. People go to Google and they'll Google and the Google reviews will … if you put in “pizza” you'll see the Google sites that have Google reviews on them. So Google reviews are incredibly important, again, if that's relevant for your business. If it's, not. One of the best exercises entrepreneurs can do is sort of try to brainwash out of your brain everything that you know about your business and just pretend that you're kind of a dumb customer that's bumbling around. Like, how do I find whatever? So let's say I'm losing my hair, what do I do? Well, I'm gonna Google hair loss and then I'm gonna discover, what's a hair transplant? And then I'm gonna learn there's this technology. And then now I wanna do one I'm not gonna just Google hair transplant, I'm gonna put hair transplant Bay Area or hair transplant Tulsa, Oklahoma, because I'm gonna want somebody local, right?

So it's a really good exercise to look at the world from the perspective of your customer. But here's the trick. You've gotta brainwash out everything that you know as the expert and look at the world in this virgin way. And then, in this case, you're very shortly gonna run into Google, Google reviews, and Yelp, if it's a local business.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: – HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

[just click to tweet]

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

To get to the top of Google it takes a combination of inspiration and perspiration.
Listen to this interview for several tips on how to improve SEO

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Doug: Yeah, and that's the way I think of it as well, is like … I would say to people, “If somebody was looking for your company product or service, what would they likely type in the search engine to find you?” And you identify there that there are several stages. So they might be really early in their staging of research which is one page to optimize for. Now they know your technology that's a second page. And then they might go to something else like a consumer report or a review site to see how you're rated. So, those are kinda three different stages in the buying process where your potential customer's looking for you and you can optimize I guess in each of those.

Jason McDonald: Yeah, absolutely. And here's sort of another, funny tip slash story. If you go to Google and you type in Google SEO Starter Guide, here's a news flash. Google has actually produced a document which will tell you the basics. It doesn't tell you everything, but it tells you the basics of what you need to rank on Google. So once you know that Google has produced this guide you can go look it up, and then you can read it and then here's a shocking news flash. If you wanna get to the top of Google, do what they tell you to do.

Doug: That's good.

Jason McDonald: Who'd have thought, right? How crazy, right? Follow their instructions. And it's not everything, but again, for many small businesses, you'll look at that and you'll realize there's some very basic like, the structure of your content, and how you use tags, and how you use images and things like that, that are very basic to talking to Google. And I've dealt with lots of companies, and often times very small changes to get their web content up to best practices tremendous impact in their rankings, and then they love me and they pay my invoice and everyone's happy.

Doug: There you go. That's the way it's supposed to be.

So I wanna go back to something you said early, just wanna make sure that our listeners get this. And the notes that I made were that you talked about three potential tactics and I would say that in my work with clients that people often work in silos and one silo might be advertising and one might be marketing and the other might be sales. So you've said, SEO, social media and reviews. And I think that … I just wanna emphasize that point that there's some synergy by having someone like yourself that are looking at all aspects so we're not fighting over budget and fighting over content so at least your brand is congruent in the marketplace. Every place they look is talking the same language.

Jason McDonald: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, these things have merged together in lots of important ways. And if you have a company that's large enough, you can get to this problem of everyone's in their own little silo as you say. Take reviews for instance. Reviews, if you Google pizza, try this at home, try this on your phone. Google pizza and you're gonna see that companies that rank at the top have a lot of reviews on Google. They have more reviews than the other people, right? But then look at the human aspect. So the person, the physical person, the carbon-based life form who is bringing the pizza to you. “Hey, did you like the pizza? You did? Would you do us a favor, would you go and write a review on Google?” So this is an example where the front line staff, the real face to face human, has a tremendous impact on the digital performance of the company by being that front-line person who can ask that happy customer, “Write us a review.” So you don't wanna think of the real world and the digital world as completely separate, 'cause they're not, they're very interrelated.

Doug: That's a great point. I worked with a retailer that was having some problems, they had a number of stores, a chain of stores, and one wasn't working well so we went in to kind of clean it up and make it work. That's one of the things we taught the staff, is when the customer pays you a compliment, says thank you or I really appreciate your service, say would you mind? Because they've just asked, they've just said, “Hey, you're doing a great job.” So would you mind writing a review?

Jason McDonald: Absolutely. I mean, the number one thing a business can do to get more reviews is to ask happy campers and be aware of that moment when the person says … I mean, try this experiment. Buy one of my books and send me an email and say, “Hey I loved your book.” And immediately I will send you an email back that says, “Really? Did you like my book? Do me a favor, write me a review on Amazon.” And I have like 500 reviews of my book on Amazon and the reason I have 500 reviews is crazy strategy, I ask people when they're happy, do me a favor and it's so simple but so many businesses first don't see and understand the value of reviews and the reviews in the digital world, and the second doesn't follow up which is what needs to happen to make this happen? What do we need to do, to do this? And that's easy … there are other examples too, I mean you can be more technical like, “Oh, I need to rank on Google for cannabis grow lights.” Well, you need to create content that says that and you need to know a little bit about HTML tags and you need to put in your title tag of your blog posts or your landing page, and you put that keyword in there.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: – HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

[just click to tweet]

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

To get to the top of Google it takes a combination of inspiration and perspiration.
Listen to this interview for several tips on how to improve SEO

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

So you need to know a little bit about the technical side of this to succeed. That's another super high value to do is to know a little bit about HTML tags and how they communicate to Google and then to embed your keywords into your tags.

Doug: So, how do you find out … what's your working relationship with your clients? Do you focus mainly on done for you or do you focus on teaching people and helping entrepreneurs learn how to do this so they can look after it themselves or maybe have their team look after it?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, so, I'm a huge believer in learning by doing and being practical. But, I make most of my money off of my books on Amazon so it's my number one revenue service by far is sales of my books on Amazon. And then I teach for Stanford Continuing Studies, I also teach online, so I teach with their online program. But, in order to kind of stay sharp and know how the real world works, at any given moment I have about 10 or 15 clients. And I love my clients, but I really love the fact that because I'm down in the trenches with them, I learn the practical stuff that you need to know. So I really use that knowledge to be better at writing better books and being a better teacher. But my passion is really the books and the teaching. And that's what I do. So I try to kind of use my clients so to speak, as my learning, as my training ground, is my sort of theory.

Doug: Good for you. I was just down at an event in San Diego for podcasters and someone asked a really interesting question. They said, “So when you're tired, what's three things that you would do when you're finished that would give you more energy?” And I was thinking to your point, I like teaching. And for a long time, I wouldn't teach 'cause there's just too many people that didn't have the real experience, they have the education but not … like you're doing in the trenches, what's working today, what's changing. And this kind of following the market.

Jason McDonald: Yeah, no, I'm huge. I mean, I love analogies. Anyone who reads my books or takes my classes, I'm like, king of analogies. And in the analogy, I like for like, SEO, and really for social media as well is cooking, right? So cooking is about inspiration, you know? Like, “Oh, I'm gonna have a dinner party, I'm gonna make a souffle.” You have to have this inspiration to be a good cook. And I'm a really good cook and I've got my passion about being a good cook from my mom, my mom's an incredible cook. However, you need to know the practicalities as well. You need to know how to break those eggs, and you need to know how to whip them in the right way. You have to know some technical, practical steps to succeed and to be a good cook. So it's both technical, and inspirational. And that I think is the conceptual problem that most people struggle with is they think it's all technical. It is not all technical, you can't make a good dinner party if you don't have some inspiration for what you wanna cook. You can't just go randomly crack eggs in your kitchen, that doesn't work, right? But you can't also just be inspirational and be like, “Wow, wouldn't it be great if we had a souffle?” That doesn't work that way either.

So this … digital marketing has this synergy between practical knowledge and inspirational knowledge. And I think most businesses have this same sort of little dance that goes on. And once you kind of see that dance … and I think cooking is a great metaphor, a great analogy to see this, that that's what good cooking is about. And that's how I like to think of it, and that's why I like to have … I would never wanna just write books. How could you write books about SEO or social media or AdWords if you actually hadn't done it, right? Oh, you'd be a professor at a major university. But other than that, how would you do it, right?

Doug: Yeah, fair enough. I mean, I'm not gonna touch that we'll just … you don't wanna talk about [crosstalk 00:25:00].

Jason McDonald: [crosstalk 00:25:00] professors of marketing, right? ‘Cause I mean they're just like, how can you possibly teach marketing if you've actually never done marketing? I mean, how strange is that, right?

Doug: Well, you know, I'm hoping one day to get an honorary Ph.D., I just didn't want to take the education I wanted to actually make some stuff work so that's what I'm looking at for my degree. So if you ever do see me get a degree, you'll know it wasn't because I went to school, it's because I actually did that for people.

So, search engines. So, talk about Amazon for a minute. So I've heard people say Amazon is the best search engine to rank on because it's full of people who have already put their credit card information in.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: – HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

[just click to tweet]

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

To get to the top of Google it takes a combination of inspiration and perspiration.
Listen to this interview for several tips on how to improve SEO

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Jason McDonald: Yeah, yeah. So, trends in the culture, trends in what's been on … secret things that people really miss. People will often say, “What is Google's competition? Is it Bing?” No, it's not Bing. Hello. Bing is not Google's competition. Amazon, right? And this is why right? When you want to buy something, you want to buy dog food or you want to buy a webcam, right? You will so often start at Amazon.com. And this really drives Google crazy, right? Because of so many of the quote “money searches” where you're ready to buy a product, go to Amazon. And you really wanna think of Amazon as a search engine that's very competitive to Google for those product searches. And then guess, what? Amazon like a Google, there are attributes of how it works which we can talk about, that you can influence to rank on Google.

But what you don't wanna do, is say, “Well I'm gonna sell webcams and I'm only gonna optimize for Google.” When 80% of your audience is gonna start at Amazon. You're in the wrong place if that's what you're selling. So again, back to thinking like kind of a dumb customer. If that blank customer, “Hey, I need a new webcam.” And they're gonna go right to Amazon, then you as the vendor, you need to optimize for Amazon, right? You can't … you gotta think like a customer. And a lot of us, myself included, start on Amazon for anything that's product. If I never go into another store, I'd be overjoyed. ‘Cause it's click, buy, done. I don't even price shop, right? Amazon's not even the cheapest anymore. I don't care. It's easy, done. Right? So, Amazon is huge as a search engine. Huge.

Doug: So that's new information to me in terms of optimizing for Amazon. I never thought of that. I've heard the conversation but I never thought there was a special way or there's a particular approach you take to do that. So, what are the main differences? Is this something that's easy for a guy like more or people who have a web business to understand?

Jason McDonald: Easy, I don't know maybe easy, but Amazon … the first epiphany is Amazon is a search engine. Who thought, right? It's a search engine. Amazon has algorithms. Amazon has many attributes that are similar to Google. So take the idea of keywords, right? So if you go to Amazon, one of my favorite searches when I teach people is go to Amazon and type in “garage door remote.” And you're gonna see a result, it's usually number one, sometimes it's number two. And I swear to God, I swear to somebody. I swear to the deities, right? The aim of this product is like, garage door clicker opener remote control for your garage. Right? So, they named the product off of garage door, what else could we say? Could be called a remote, could be called an opener, could be called a clicker. And this product is literally called the garage door opener remote door clicker opener for you, right? Why did they do that? Because the people that sell this sat down and they thought through, what are the synonyms, keywords, which is huge for SEO, is it “lawyer”, is it “attorney”, is it “law firm”, right? I often tell my mom, “Hey mom, I don't do reality, I just play word games 24 hours a day.” Lawyer, law firm, attorney, right? Clicker, garage door, remote control. So you gotta know your keywords that's the first thing.

And then, on Amazon, the product name needs to regurgitate the target keywords. And I would hope you have a little bit more class than naming your product clicker remote door whatever. However, the point is well taken. The keywords need to be in the product name. That's similar to the title tag on Google. Now, here is where Amazon is very different than Google. Amazon is very sensitive to two attributes that do not exist on Google. Reviews. The more reviews, the better you rank on Amazon. That's true on Google local, but generally, we don't think about that on Google so the reviews on Amazon are critical to rank on Amazon. And the second thing, which really has no equivalent on Google, is sales. So Amazon is very sensitive to are people buying this product? So a product that sells on Amazon will tend to outrank a product that does not sell, okay? Now, you as a vendor can do a lot of things, and we can discuss those, some of those things. There are things that you can do to influence the reviews, the sales and then another concept is what's called velocity. How fast something's selling and you can juice that and change that around.

So, there's a lot of little to-dos that you as a vendor as an entrepreneur, if Amazon matters to you, that you can influence to get your product to rank on Amazon. So there's a lot of things you can do that are pretty cool.

Doug: Well, with the new voice search that's coming out, I would think that Amazon should matter to everybody.

Jason McDonald: Yeah, and I'm a … full disclosure, I own a lot of stock in Amazon. I love Amazon, I make a lot of money on Amazon and I think Alexa is really crushing it. I mean, I think Alexa's really gonna crush it in the home device market and the Google devices are not doing so well. And part of that is part of the connection to, “Hey, I need dog food. Alexa, buy it for me.” That's the future.

Doug: Yeah, and I heard that episode with GaryVee which was kind of interesting, because I was looking at my kids, we've got three adult kids and how much they use text and voice and the example was we're sitting around, we're having a coffee at Starbucks and we say, “Hey, let's go for dinner.” So it's like, “Hey, find me a good Italian restaurant in the Bay Area.” Up comes the options and book me the reservation and it's done. And put the phone down and carry on until we're ready to go for dinner.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: – HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

[just click to tweet]

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

To get to the top of Google it takes a combination of inspiration and perspiration.
Listen to this interview for several tips on how to improve SEO

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Jason McDonald: Yeah, absolutely. And I think in that way I think Google and Amazon are very competitive one to the other. And in some ways, I think Amazon is a stronger play. And then given that this podcast is speaking to entrepreneurs, you have to say, “Well, am I selling something that people are gonna go to Amazon on first?” Amazon.com the website and all that jazz. But the other thing is the entrepreneurship is about looking to the future and look at these devices in the home and like you said, think about what people would say into the device. “Hey, Amazon, could you make us reservations at such and such restaurant here in San Francisco.” Right? So the Amazon devices in the home are very relevant to search and then you have to think what are people going to look for on these devices, and are there some new businesses that might emerge in this kind of new Amazon ecosystem. And maybe Google will hang on there with number two in the Google devices or Siri but Amazon's got a big, big, big lead in that.

Doug: I'll have to try that when we finish the podcast. I'll just ask Google or ask Siri, “Can you make me a reservation at the Farallon for four for dinner?”

Jason McDonald: Yeah, not quite there yet, but it's coming.

Doug: Very cool. So I'm just looking at … I took a chance because I'm an online guy, we talked offline about tools and I love being online. So I just pulled up your profile on Amazon and there you are. 218 reviews on your Social Media Workbook, How to Use Social Media for Business. And 562 on SEO Fitness Workbook. That's amazing. So no doubt you're getting lots of traction from the number of reviews.

Jason McDonald: Oh yeah. For sure. I love people that review me and sort of deep, dark, dirty … not dirty, but secret, right? Anyone that sends me an email, “Hey I'm trying to buy your book, I've got this problem, blah, blah, blah.” I will always offer them a copy and say, “Hey, I'll send you a free copy just please do me a favor and write a review on Amazon.” And a part of your strategy to success on Amazon is to give away product to those interested persons who reach out to you. And then just say, “Hey, do me a favor. Write me a short, honest review when you're done.” And you know, if you give away a few copies that no one … if they don't follow through, whatever. But it's huge to just really motivate. When somebody takes the time to send you an email, they're motivated and people are so thankful when you answer their questions. Say, “Hey, I'll send you a free copy. Just do me a favor.” It's huge. And it's so obvious once you get it. And that's part of Amazon strategy.

Doug: When I think that to that comment, you could apply this to about anything online. I'm often surprised and excited when people just respond on social media. I've done a number of posts on social media not working because people aren't social, they look at social like this is a broadcast platform opposed to this is a platform to begin a dialogue and hopefully bring that dialogue offline.

Jason McDonald: Absolutely. I mean, other things you can do with social is here's a shocker, go read what other people are saying and interact with them and ask them questions. I mean, I've used this with journalists before. Send them an email that says, “Hey I love the article that I just read, it was really interesting but here's my feedback.” And that's how you build relationships with journalists that people are actually reading what they're writing, so it is social media, right? That's the idea.

Doug: Well, and it's interesting because the conversation that we had is we started, you said, “I've listened to a couple of your episodes.” And so you had an idea of the style. And often, as a podcaster, we'll have people pitched to be a guest and they've never listened to an episode. And I'm thinking, why … what sort of integrity do you have in your business if you're gonna ask for an interview with a media outlet and you have no idea what that's gonna look like for your business.

Jason McDonald: Yeah, absolutely. And you wanna think about the genre and your show is about entrepreneurs, I love entrepreneurs, I love small businesses. That's what I like to do and work with. And I was sort of telling you beforehand, I'm kind of am a recovering intellectual, I mean I do have a Ph.D. And I had like a real job. But I love … I found my niche in that I love adult learners. I love entrepreneurs. I love helping other people kind of understand the technical things that I know to help them with their dreams and aspirations. That's how I get kinda my kicks. But I really don't wanna be on a cooking podcast, it's not relevant to me, I don't do that. I might listen to one, but I wouldn't, I mean–

Doug: It's not a fit for who you are. Yeah, I get that.

Jason McDonald: Yeah. That's not mine.

Doug: So what's one tool you'd recommend that entrepreneurs that are listening to that wanna get a start on their SEO. Are there any magic tools … we talked online about tools and both of us like to buy those sort of things?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, so, I love tools and I chart all sorts of free tools. And I say a couple tools that I like that are kind of fun and different. So, I think you'll listen to a lot of Twitter shows or technical shows when people talk about the keyword tool. So if you just go to Google and you Google Ubersuggest, that's a fun, free keyword tool that I think a lot of people know about, and that pulls the auto-complete. So that's a good keyword discovery system, is Ubersuggest. But another tool that I think the most interesting tool, and spoiler alert, it does cost money, that is really fascinating is the BuzzSumo tool. It does have a very limited free functionality, but for $99 a month, it will pull what's trending. So you can put in your keyword, organic food or cannabis or whatever your little entrepreneur thing is doing, and it will sort for you what's getting the most shares on Facebook, what's getting the most shares on LinkedIn, on Pinterest, on Twitter. And then you can dive in to see, especially on Twitter, who the top influencers are. So I really like the BuzzSumo tool as a window into social trends.

Now, it's $99 a month but what you can do is just buy the tool for a month and if you're not … or put in some of the keywords that you think or your business is on, and you can export the data and pull it out. So you can kinda pay 100 bucks essentially, pull a lot of data, and then really investigate, what are people responding to, sharing, talking about on social. I just adore that tool. And I don't make any money from the tool, I just really think it's a great tool.

Doug: Well one of the things that you mentioned, I mean that makes sense even for your advertising strategy. So if you're running Google paid ads or Facebook ads or Twitter ads or any sort of ad, it's helpful to know what people are looking for, opposed to you trying to convert on some topic or some word that's very difficult.

Jason McDonald: Yeah, and not just looking for what are they talking about, what are they sharing, what are they interacting with. Which speaks to not just what they're searching for but what's kind of … what's scratching that itch that they have, and that's sort of the essence of entrepreneurship, right? Is to find an itch and scratch it. And then in this BuzzSumo tool, really helps you see those trends.

Another tool that's free that's kind of similar but … it's hashtagify.me, so hashtagify, so H-A-S-H-T-A-G-I-F-Y.me. And it's a hashtag search engine based on Twitter. And so you can put in a kind of a theme like you put in organic and you'll see vegan and healthy food and it'll give you the relationships that people are sharing on these hashtags. And it's free for Twitter, and a paid version, also there's Instagram. And I like that one. Again, I'm really interested in social buzz and trends and themes and again I think a good entrepreneur looks at the trends and tries to capitalize on the trends. So, what are the tools to help you see the trends in advance or as close to in advances as possible?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: – HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

[just click to tweet]

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

To get to the top of Google it takes a combination of inspiration and perspiration.
Listen to this interview for several tips on how to improve SEO

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Doug: Well and on that, there's a huge opportunity is something we've capitalized on before, and that is if you've got a WordPress blog and it's been well optimized by Google and you post a new blog post it's most often, or at least I've seen situations, where it's indexed within the hour, works to get a Google alert saying it's live. So you could in the morning look for what's trending, have a conversation like you and I are having a conversation, upload it, do some basic SEO and by the time that people get off work at 6:00, see the news, go type it into Google, you can rank.

Jason McDonald: Yeah, absolutely. Trend watching. There's a guy named David Meerman Scott and he has this concept called newsjacking. And you go to YouTube and put in news jack and that's really what he's kinda putting his hat on there is that you figure out the trending topic, and then you pounce on it with your own angle. And YouTube, for instance, there's a lot of ways you can news jack on YouTube. And I think that's … trends are very important to entrepreneurship in general, so yeah. Any trend watching tools, and I have a bunch that I use that I'm very interested in.

Doug: Well you're finding the starving crowd.

Jason McDonald: Yeah, exactly. You're scratching the itch. There's a lot of ways you can … as dog people, we know it's all about scratching itches, but you know what I'm saying.

Doug: I know what you're saying.

Okay so, why don't you share with our listeners, what are the best places for people to find you, and then before we wrap up I'm gonna ask a couple more questions.

Jason McDonald: Yeah, so easy ways to find me, you can just go to Amazon, you can put in Jason McDonald, or you can go to Amazon and put in SEO, or you put in social media, or you put in AdWords, and my books are always at the top on Amazon for those relevant keywords. You can also just Google me, you can just Google Jason McDonald and I'm generally always at the top of Google. I'm sometimes duking it out with a baseball star and another guy that got six-pack abs. But it's sort of revenge of the nerds, I can usually outrank the people with six-pack abs for my own name on Google. That's the easiest way to find me.

Doug: Excellent, that's funny. Now in terms of your book, do you wanna share with us a little bit more about the book that you're writing?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, so I'm in the trenches of writing a new book. And I always think writing a new book is the closest thing that men can do to pregnancy, right? So it's very painful and difficult. So really … I'm not one of those writers that's like, “Oh, this is fun.” I'm like, “This is agony.” So I'm writing a new book on marketing, it's called The Marketing Book, and it's called Think, Do, Learn. And what I'm doing differently about this book, is on my YouTube channel which is for the JM Internet Group, I'm posting the playlists as I get the big sections done of the book. So I've literally just started, and as I'm writing the chapters I'm putting the videos up that are kind of summaries of the chapter and I'm asking people who wanna participate to go to the YouTube and comments and what is their feedback as I'm writing the book. So I'm really doing it in an interactive way and I'm very keen for kind of people who would like to see drafts of the book as I write it.

So my first book I'm really targeting audio format 'cause I'm very successful on Audible. But with this book I'm really gonna go audio native and I'm writing it in a very conversational style, and it's on practical marketing concepts. So how do you think about your business value, proposition, or customer segments? Or positioning. Things that I've run into from my other books that the average person doesn't quite get, and I think is a huge marketing concept.

Doug: Well, I'm super interested to be … I would love to participate and support you however I can in that way.

Jason McDonald: Oh, thank you. That's great.

Doug: Who's one guest that you think we absolutely need to have on the show?

Jason McDonald: A guest that you have to have on the show. That's interesting. There are some people on LinkedIn, there's a woman, I believe her name is Viveka Von Rumen I believe and she does a lot on LinkedIn, and a very interesting person I think for LinkedIn marketing. I think LinkedIn is another one of these nuggets that I think people have not really sort of kinda focused on enough. So I would say she would be a person who could be an interesting guest. And I apologize if I said her name wrong, I just met her at Social Media Marketing World and was just blown away. She's like the LinkedIn goddess.

Doug:    Well, we'll figure it out. I mean, when we connected and booked your interview, I use a few tools. So I use Sales Navigator and Clearbit, so both of them pull up information, and it pulled up the fact that you are on LinkedIn and I thought we'll wait until the end of the episode. LinkedIn's been huge for me, I get … if an account grows at a ridiculous pace every day and yeah, it's … I agree with you. It's a super good tool.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: – HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

[just click to tweet]

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

To get to the top of Google it takes a combination of inspiration and perspiration.
Listen to this interview for several tips on how to improve SEO

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Jason McDonald: Yeah, and it's also I think a little bit like … LinkedIn is not the sexy social media, right? It's not the one where you're like, “Oh wow, it's so cool. It's my Instagram photos.” But yeah, so that's a good one I think that I think a lot of entrepreneurs can … especially B To B, B To B often gets the short end of the stick on social because it's not as fun as the consumer stuff. So I think LinkedIn, I would definitely focus on that. I think that's an area where we could kinda get some [inaudible 00:44:29].

Doug: Is Kim Kardashian free?

Jason McDonald: Well, I don't wanna be politically incorrect here. But I will tell you, I am very, and this is not a political statement, I am not saying right or wrong. What I am saying though, of people to watch that understand how to influence the media, Milo Yiannopoulos who's very controversial, very controversial. I am a big fan, not necessarily that I agree with his politics, but wow, does he understand media. He's got this book Dangerous which was banned and then published, and not been used. There's nothing better for your book, than being banned, right? Nothing will sell books like that. And so he's a kind of an interesting character about his media strategy and how he uses the media. And I think that you as an entrepreneur might not be as extreme and crazy and controversial as he is, but I really believe in looking at a person, whether it's say Donald Trump or whoever, that you don't necessarily agree with, but looking at their strategy. Like what is their strategy in terms of media? And I think there's a lot to learn there. So he's a person who–

Doug: I totally agree.

Jason McDonald: And I'm not saying … I know you know, I don't want a flame war here, I'm not saying I agree with him politically, I'm just saying media strategy, really, really interesting.

Doug: Yeah, no, I totally agree. I mean, my experience has been that if somebody is … they're kinda wishy-washy, they're not sure, you're okay, I like you. It doesn't work. I found that strong personalities where there's out there a love or hate relationship always draws the media attention and outperforms the … someone who's complacent.

Jason McDonald: Well, yeah, you mentioned GaryVee right? He's sort of the same genre, right? Love him, hate him. But he's very brash and in your face and New Jersey. And if I … what is it, The Knicks he's into? Whatever sports team, right? But his personality really comes out and I really admire that in him. And he has rabid fans and people that love him. And he's not milquetoast, right? He's not milquetoast. And that's great, right? I really admire that in him, and that really gets his brand out there. And he is … he's authentic. He's who he wants to be. I don't wanna be that brand, that's not me, I'm very practical and I'm like the turtle. I'm gonna tell you how to do it from the bottom up in a very practical sense. That's what I like, I like some technical knowledge. But other people are different. So I think you have to be true to your brand but also look at other people and other entrepreneurs and think, what are they trying to do, and what are their … this is all very thought out. The really successful ones are not … it's not accidental.

Doug: I agree. I mean, even with Kim Kardashian like you said, there's a plan there and the plan works. It's working for her, it's working for her sponsors.

Jason McDonald: Yeah, reality TV.

Doug: That's right.

Well, hey, thanks so much. So, listeners, we had you listen to Jason McDonald. I think he shared a ton of value, a ton of information. I know when I've finished the podcast I'll be heading over to LinkedIn to connect with him and then trying to decide which of his books I should read first. So, thanks again for your time, thanks for tuning in. Make sure that if you're not subscribed, subscribe to us on iTunes. If you like this episode or others, we would welcome your honest feedback and a review. So thanks again, Jason.

Well there you go listeners, thanks again and we'll see you next episode.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: – HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

[just click to tweet]

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

To get to the top of Google it takes a combination of inspiration and perspiration.
Listen to this interview for several tips on how to improve SEO

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Get in touch with Jason

Resources

Links to other podcast and or blog posts:

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

Share your thoughts, comments 
and post your questions below: