SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

Tips for successful SEO and remembering the human factor by Rebecca Gill

  • Don't get tripped up on the algorithms. Focus yourself on doing the right thing for the human, helping the search engines find the best answer for a human's problems.
  • Successful SEO is about ROI, it needs to produce a return on the investment whether you're doing it for yourself, or whether you're doing it for a client.
  • The goal is to educate people and to get that foundation built… I really want that one-time project with them first so I can get a sense of really what is needed ongoing, do they need my assistance, or can they fly?
  • Make sure your [SEO] strategy encompasses the entire journey, you can be so successful and so powerful and truly outfox your competition, because most likely they are not doing it.
  • SEO is about the human, but it's also about the data.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

[just click to tweet]

SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

Don't get tripped up on the algorithms. Focus yourself on doing the right thing for the human, helping the search engines find the best answer for a human's problems.

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

Doug: Well welcome back listeners to another episode of Real Marketing, Real Fast. Today we're going to talk about a topic that is discussed at length online, but I am super excited today to have Rebecca Gill joining me in the studio, and we're going to talk a little bit about search engine optimization.

So Rebecca has a well-rounded background, and she has over 15 years of experience in sales and online marketing. In addition to running the day to day activities of her web-savvy marketing, Rebecca also provides full-service SEO consulting, one-on-one SEO coaching, and she publishes online SEO courses and also hosts a weekly SEO podcast. She teaches on SEO boot camps, she loves to teach the latest SEO strategies and tactics for others helping businesses grow their online footprint.

So I'm sure as online marketers or those who are in that space, there are lots to learn today, so I'd like to welcome Rebecca to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today.

Rebecca Gill: Hello, thank so much for having me.

Doug: Well, I'm super excited to talk about this topic. There's so much information out there, and we're obviously not going to get you to do a bunch of free consulting today, but it would be really great just for you to fill in the blanks, and give us a little more background on what you do and how you help people to achieve their goals.

Rebecca Gill: So as you said, I've been doing SEO for 15 years, roughly sales and marketing around the same time period. I love to teach people SEO as well as help them do it. So I spend my days working directly with clients on SEO projects, and then I publish online SEO courses, and I love to do six week mastermind courses with people too in a group format online to really help push them ahead and make sure they've got that feedback, both from me and then from the groups so we can all chat about it.  So that's pretty much how I spend my days.

Doug: Well one of the things that caught my attention right away, and maybe it's just because of my bias, and that is you've got a background in sales and marketing. I'm always excited to see people who are practisers teaching a skill. So whether it's web design or SEO or copyrighting, who actually have sales and marketing background.

Rebecca Gill: Yeah so I did sales and marketing both for an earpiece software company for years, and I also sold at the enterprise level with Delphi Automotive, and GM and Chrysler and Ford were my clients. So definitely have that experience at both small business and then scaling up to the enterprise. It's definitely helped me with SEO because you don't just look at keywords, you look more at the customer and their journey and their pain points and just those things that the real world one-on-one, in person sales consultations can really teach you.

Doug: Well I guess at the end of the day we're all looking to increase visibility for our business, but at the end of the day what we really want to do is, we want to see transactions with the right people. So having that prior experience assuming it's going to help your clients. Because your end goal isn't really about being number one in Google, but it's about attracting the right people to your page and then ultimately converting them into a customer.

Rebecca Gill: You know and people get really sidetracked with SEO because they chase the keywords and they look at those high volumes and those broad phrases that don't even relate to who they actually sell. Successful SEO is about ROI, it needs to produce a return on the investment whether you're doing it for yourself, or whether you're doing it for a client.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

[just click to tweet]

SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

Don't get tripped up on the algorithms. Focus yourself on doing the right thing for the human, helping the search engines find the best answer for a human's problems.

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

The only way to do that is to hone in on the customer and what they need and make sure that your strategy aligns with that. I think that's where a lot of times people get tripped up and they're like they don't have any success. Well because the reason you don't have success with it is you're failing to remember that this is for the actual human, and not just an algorithm or a search engine that might be found on your sight.

Doug: That's right, I don't ever remember seeing Google put their credit card in and buy anything from me. So it's usually somebody on the line there. So one of the topics I know that you talk about is, can people really do SEO on their own. So that's where I'd like to start today because as business owners or entrepreneurs or even as marketing guys, we're running a business, we've got an area of expertise we're supposed to help our employees with. So why don't you share with us, can I really do this on my own.

Rebecca Gill: The way that I approach this with people and really showing them that you can do it on their own. So I grew up just the poor kid who struggled to get through school. I was in remedial reading in fifth grade because of my chaotic home life and my background. I am not a scholar, I am not like the smartest kid on the block. I think I'm intelligent, but I'm not by far the savviest with everything. Yet, I could teach myself SEO.

I did that 15 years ago when there wasn't a lot of information online available, and it was a lot of trial and error, and I literally would sit at night and read stuff and test things while my daughter was watching Teletubbies. Because she was a toddler and I always want to think about learning, I think the Teletubbies because it's just like the craziest child show ever.

But that's when I was really spending time above my extra days' work that I had to do for my employer, but learning the skill. If I can do that, and I can be on search, people like SAP and Microsoft and Oracle, I think anybody can. Because it's like I'm not like some special person, and I didn't get all A's in school, and I didn't score perfectly on the ACT. Yet, I can do it and I've done it, and I've done it well, and I can teach other people.

It's not that people can't learn SEO, it's a matter of whether they want to and whether they're willing to put the time in to actually do it. SEO is not voodoo, it's not magical, it's a process, it's a strategy and there are tactics associated with the strategy that you set up. It's putting yourself in that process and moving through the process.

Anybody can really do that, it's just a matter of the desire and as I said, the willingness to work. That's why I always try to start with people so that they see all things are possible, it is within their reach, it's just a matter of whether they want to do it.

Doug: Well fair enough, so you gotta have the willingness. So assuming I'm willing to do this, and I'm saying, hey I want to learn this at least at the beginning for myself and maybe teach somebody on my team or have somebody else on my team join me.

How much time do I need to invest realistically to get a start? So, in addition to the training and coaching that we do with you, know how much time to spend on the keyboard trying to optimize my site.

Rebecca Gill: It's really going to vary based on a number of factors. Are you selling to a local market, or are you competing on a national level? Is your industry really competitive, do you have a really strong online competition? What's the subject matter that you're trying to optimize for. Is it something basic like housecleaning, or is it something really more advanced that may be like that earpiece software that I used to sell on the market.

All of those factors go into how much time you spend, so there's no magical number. But I will tell you there's a lot of clients and prospects who come to me thinking that they have to pay me monthly. Because that's how the industry has taught people, that you have to pay a consultant a retainer every single month, X amount of hours just to make sure that you're successful.

I think that's a bunch of crap. Sometimes you have to do things like that, you have to pay for assistance, but not always because, especially for those small guys in the small businesses. You establish your presence and you build that right foundation, you can do things on your own with some efforts monthly, but it's not going to be a full-time job for a small business. It is for like enterprise and it is for larger organizations and competitive markets, but once you get that foundation built, it's kind of like your house.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

[just click to tweet]

SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

Don't get tripped up on the algorithms. Focus yourself on doing the right thing for the human, helping the search engines find the best answer for a human's problems.

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

When you're building a house, you spend a lot of time in the beginning. You build that foundation, you build the structure, you put in the paint and the wallpaper and carpet and everything else. But then, it's just maintenance. You're going to change your light bulbs, you're going to mow your grass, that doesn't take hours and hours and hours every week for you to do or even day. It's more of the maintenance side of things, and I think that that's a myth that people have in the incorrect assumption of SEO.

So to answer your question in a very long-winded way, there is no magical number on how long it's going to take, but the work is at the beginning when you're building up that foundation you're really creating the strategy, the process and you're putting that all together.

Doug: Well that's interesting. Do you ever work with people on a hybrid model where, if the bulk of the work is up front, you would help them directly or point them to someone who could help them directly to do the heavy lifting and get the foundation in place so they can get just to the maintenance stage?

Rebecca Gill: That's a lot of what I do. So if I'm not educating you through courses or mastermind sessions or boot camps, we do that one-on-one project together to build that foundation up. Which is usually like two to three months. I try to teach you as much as I can during that process and shift the way that you think about SEO.  So once we're done, you can maintain it yourself if you want to.

Some clients do have me work with them on an on-going basis, I've got a client since 2011. But the goal is to educate people and to get that foundation built, which a lot of times they need help doing that. But then let them go, set that bird free so that they can fly on their own. I think when an SEO engagement is done right, that's the setting.

I won't even quote anyone ongoing retainer at the beginning because I really want that one-time project with them first so I can get a sense of really what is needed ongoing, do they need my assistance, or can they fly?

Doug; Well, I like your comment about this not being voodoo, that it's kind of science. I think lots of times practices in all areas try to mystify what they do, maybe to retain the client. I'm not sure why you'd want to do that. But when I met Tom from Interview Valet, and people said hey can't systematize your business. He said, hey I worked for the Navy and I ran a nuclear plant.  You can systematize that so you don't hurt people and you can systematize everything going, okay, so I guess you win. I mean that's a pretty big argument to say I can't systematize this marketing thing, yet the U.S. can systematize running a nuclear plant.

So there you go listeners, you can get this setup and get a system in place and have it running tickety boop. So with SEO, excuse my ignorance, I'm not sure what updates happened in the world, I don't follow it that closely. Last big complaint I heard online was the Panda update. How often do these updates come that require maybe some additional training and some additional knowledge to keep current?

Rebecca Gill: Well that's the painful part about SEO. I will be honest with you. So Google has an ongoing effort to tweak their algorithm. It gets changed daily, they just are always tweaking it. They do major changes and major roll-outs.

Doug: Hold on a second, it's gets changed daily?

Rebecca Gill: It gets tweaked daily, yes. They're always constantly tweaking things. But for the most part, you don't need to worry about that. Because if you're … I think another area where people get sidetracked with SEO is they get tripped up on those algorithms. Don't get tripped up on the algorithms. Focus yourself on doing the right thing for the human, helping the search engines find the best answer for a human's problem.

When you approach SEO that way, you tend to win and then if Google makes its small change, you're not going to get tripped up. So I don't want people to be scared or worried about that. I do want them to be aware of the major changes that come out.

Like Google just changed Chrome so that if someone goes to a website that's not secure with an SSL certificate, they're going to get warnings. All that definitely influences SEO, I want you to be aware of that.

Doug: Well it also influences people's mindset when you show up to somebody's site and it's going, security warning, don't go here.

Rebecca Gill: It does and I was just talking to a surgeon about it yesterday. I'm like you know what, if you're going to cut me with a knife, I really need your website to be secure. I don't need that warning message when I come.

Doug: No, that's right, there's so much weird stuff happening online, so your right. Okay, well fair enough, and I think what you're saying is if your intent is pure to serve people good content based on what they're searching for without trying to trick, coerce or somehow lead somebody down the wrong path, you're going to be fine with Google.

Rebecca Gill: For the most part, yes, and you have to be aware of the major changes that come out. I mean structure data in Schema has been a major shift Google's making, and yes you do need to be aware of that. No matter who you are, there are parts of that that will affect your organization.

But for the most part, you do not need to launch Google's algorithm changes or their patents and things like that. You just need to be focused on, again helping the search engines figure out what you do, what you offer, and who you help. Then make sure they can find that content and use it in search to create a positive user experience for the searcher.

When you look at it in that perspective, it takes away that voodoo. You know it doesn't seem like it's a magical ball that you're just trying to guess because it starts to become common sense. That's what I always want to teach people. I want this to become part of who you are, but from a common sense perspective. So when you're going to go do something, you come back to the fact and say, is this right for the human, do I create a positive user experience, do I produce good, do I help them.  When your answers are always yes to that, man that lines up with SEO every single time.

Doug: Yeah, I agree, I tell people, so my limited experience for Google or understanding your industry is, I said what Google's trying to do is, when someone puts their hands on the keyboard and types in a problem, they're just trying to find the person who offers up the best solution.

Rebecca Gill: Correct, yes.

Doug: Okay.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

[just click to tweet]

SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

Don't get tripped up on the algorithms. Focus yourself on doing the right thing for the human, helping the search engines find the best answer for a human's problems.

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

Rebecca Gill: Yeah and there's a lot you can do to make that difficult on the search engines. Lately, I've been doing a lot of websites audits. The reason we do them, especially with the WordPress community, there are many developers who price things cheaply, and they create websites that are just a big hot mess of crap.

They don't know they're doing it because they have limited knowledge, but they're making it difficult for the search engines to get to anything, figure out what's going on, and the client doesn't know it. So that's a big thing lately is those technical audits, and I kind of point it out to say, okay, here's all the things that you're really putting up roadblocks, let's take these roadblocks down, let's clean this up, let's make it easy or Google to maneuver through your site and really figure out what's going on.

It's funny, but that's part of the SEO industry and of the site, development evolving, and we just need to evolve with it and make sure that we're aware of what are the major points and we're paying attention to them.

Doug: So in terms of website development, because I hear what you're saying because I would often see people, for example, create a document in word and then cut and paste it. I go don't do that, the code's all full of crap, use the text editor.

We transcribe our podcast is a perfect example. So we use Rev.com to transcribe the podcast, it comes as a word doc, but we've taught our staff and our team that that's not an acceptable post to just cut and paste that and drop it into word proc.

So do you ever work with people when they're going to do a rebuild? So before they build, I say, hey Rebecca, I'm going to do a rebrand and do a new theme for my website and give a recommendation before you actually rebuild?

Rebecca Gill: So we actually do design and build as well as an organization. We'll work through that [inaudible 00:16:03], but people have also hired me as, like an SEO advocate, where I've come into the project either at the beginning or at the end and I'm like, hold on Sally, this is not how we're going to launch.

Here's a perfect example, there was a company, a client of mine from years ago, they're still on retainer with us. But they had a New York firm build them a website for like $80,000. The New York firm hardcoded like … well better description, it may not mean anything to your listeners. But it's something that Google uses to figure out the contents of your page.

The hardcoded it and made it the same across the entire site, and the clients' like I think maybe they don't know as much about SEO as they should. I looked at that and I about died, it was a number of things. But it taught me how they really do it, I'm like, well does that matter, no matter if you're Disney, and people are coming to Disney.com because they know that's your URL, but if you exit off of SEO, as this client did, I mean you can't have stuff like that.

So yeah, people will hire me as that advocate to come in and really just be their SEO champion from an external perspective, and kind of coax their developer on what needs to be done. I'm happy to do that. I work with other WordPress development agencies to be the SEO consultant for their clients. I don't care who or what capacity it's in, it's a matter of whether we're going to really be able to help somebody.

Because the web is big, the world is big, there are so many different ways that you can interact and create goodness for people, and I also [inaudible 00:17:33] of those.

Doug: I think what you're saying, it's about getting the right team in place. So you might have a really excellent web development person in-house, but you can't really expect them to know SEO and Google AdWords and Facebook Ads and email marketing and know everything at the level that they should to help your business move forward.

Rebecca Gill: Yes, because otherwise, they wouldn't be able to be good at technology. There's just so much to know and I don't know if you're familiar with Clarity FM, but that's like a great site typical to go and pick an expert's brain or 15 minutes with questions, and you pay by the minute. I love that kind of service because you can, whether you the end user, the business owner or you're the IT guy, you can go and get some information to help assist you along the way. Because they can't know everything.

It's like if you're a parent, you're totally not going to know all the right parenting, you're going to stumble along quite a bit.

Doug: Yeah I'm sure if you talk to my kids they would agree and now, we have the privilege of watching our grandkids and watching our kids as they're learning as well.

So, I want to go back to one of the things that you said that kind of caught my attention, and you said one of the things that you talk about at work with your clients in SEO is who they serve. So just a question, I'm just curious, so how does that play into your SEO strategy?

Rebecca Gill: I'm a firm believer in structuring SEO and having your strategy for SEO flow with the buyer journey. I've been doing this for like 15 years, and I didn't even know what it was called 15 years ago. So back in my old company, when I was an employee of somebody, what we did was we sold the earpiece offer, which was $100,000  purchase minimum.

If we could get in the door we were really successful, but we had no leads and that's how I fell into SEO because I was trying to build up that lead funnel. Along with that path we realized if we could get people when they first started to look for software or even before they even realized they needed new software, it was so much better because we could be their trusted advisor throughout the process. They bought into our kool-aid early on, and really they stayed with us and they bought from us.

That was not just looking at people when they're in the transactional model, but looking at their awareness in the discovery mode. What are their pain points, what do they struggle with? Create content and optimize content for that as well as that transactional, and everything in between because then you keep popping up when they're doing searches, and your name keeps staying in front of them.

That's pretty powerful, and those are longer tail search terms that are more obscure, they're easier to rank on, and it allows you to truly not just rank, but be that authoritative source for the website visitor and really develop a relationship from afar, and I love that, and I think that that's a wonderful tactic and strategy that people can do and it's usually missed. But if you do that and you make sure your strategy encompasses that entire journey, you can be so successful and so powerful and truly outfox your competition, because most likely they are not doing it.

Doug: That's a huge point. I totally agree I'm thinking of all the times that I would be the consumer online, it's my credit card and I'm looking. I just had this conversation last week with a technology company. I was looking for some new technology to use for a marketing strategy I was going over for a client. After several days of looking for vendors and talking to vendors, kind of selected one.

I said so here's some feedback. You guys were really hard to find. He goes, what do you mean, I said, I spent days looking for what this exact solution that you offer and I kept getting all your competitors, and I already knew your competitors but they didn't provide what I needed. In that case, they clearly weren't thinking of the buyer's journey, because their website was focused on more advanced terms, not the terms that I was searching for as the consumer.

Rebecca Gill: Yeah, and it's just really trying to get people to step outside their box, right? I think the other thing people do too is they focus on their jargon, their internal words, and phrases that they use, and not really look at what the target demographic generally looks at. Different personas that you may work with have different phrases.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

[just click to tweet]

SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

Don't get tripped up on the algorithms. Focus yourself on doing the right thing for the human, helping the search engines find the best answer for a human's problems.

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

So if you have like an admin, like an administrative assistant, who is looking for something to hand off to a senior manager or even a CEO, they would all look for different phrases, and you need to make sure that your SEO strategy and your content will cater to all of those.

Back in the ERP days, we have sold to different departments within an organization. They had different pain points and they looked for different things. Accounting certainly looked for something different than a plant manager would or an engineering manager or the CEO. When you start to look at not just the buying journey, but also the people within the buying journey, and how you can help those individuals and how serving their individual needs, that becomes also pretty danged powerful.

Doug: Yeah, that's gotta be a huge win for people. Typically when I'm talking to plants, everybody wants the instant success, and I think that's why. This isn't a slant against using paid advertising, obviously, we do lots of that. But it's like the crack cocaine of marketing because I can put my credit card in, I can run ads, I get instant results.

However, when you take your credit card and you don't put your credit card number in, the results stop. So SEO is a long-term game that you like you said, you invest in, but it pays dividends forever.

Rebecca Gill: It does, I mean it takes longer to rank, but I'm going to tell you the stuff that I optimized for my old employer is still sitting on page one or page two, and nobody's touched it for about 10, 15 years. I mean you can't get that from any other marketing that I know of. The other thing I love about it too is when you do it right, it's your target market. It's exactly who you want to sell to, they're already self-qualified.

You don't need to filter through a bunch of crap leads or conversations, because they already know you're the right fit for them because they've searched for phrases that show them they're an exact fit for what you offer.

Doug: So would I be correct in saying that once you start this process, that you're going to have some ongoing learning because you're going to see what your customers are searching for. So I might assume my customers are searching for x, y, z, and so that's what we optimize for and then over time we realize, no, we're not exactly right, they're searching for something else.

Rebecca Gill: So here are some ways to really see that type of information. Google search console will show you everything that you're ranking for, even if people never make their way to your website because you're like on page five of Google. That's a great way because you'll see those variations. Google analytics, if it is set up to see what people search for on your site, that's a great tool because you're seeing the words they're typing in.

Contact inquiries that you may have off of the website, if there's a database of those, pull those down, see what people are saying in their free form fields. What are the words they're using? Then another one is using a tool like SEM rush, to be able to go and data mine your competition. What are they ranking for, what pages of their website bring in the most traffic, and what phrases are really generating that traffic?

Those are four different ways to really get into some information and get you to step outside of the box of what you think people might search for.

Doug: Yeah, people are often shocked when I tell them that building and launching a website is just the beginning of your web journey. It's not the end, it's not like, hey I built my house, it's finished. It's like no, we've now built your website, now we're going to find out what your audience thinks, where they go, where they look, where they click, how they flow, and then that's where we're going to start gathering some intelligence and then making some changes. So it's the beginning, not the end.

Rebecca Gill: Absolutely, you can always make changes and make improvements. It doesn't matter whether you have the time, or whether you like that kind of process.

Doug: So, why can't I just put a WordPress plug-in in and have that do all the work for me?

Rebecca Gill: So, I preach that SEO isn't a WordPress program.

Doug: I know, that's why I asked the question.

Rebecca Gill: Yeah, I do that because I love the Yost team, and I love the Yost SEO plugin for WordPress. I think it is an amazing tool, and they do a great job of trying to educate people on how to use it. The problem is, is a lot of people install that plug-in doesn't ever fill it out, the settings or they just try to chase the green dots and they put in the completely incorrect words and things like that because they don't have a strategy.

Here's a classic example, I had a client come to me. We built her a custom blog, and she's like, I'm just not getting any traffic to my site. I'm like what's going on, and I go into her site, and she's like I'm filling out the Yost SEO tool, but it's just not working. I look and she's got like five blog posts with a focus keyword phrase of broccoli.

Well, broccoli is not really what she's targeting, really she teaches parents and children how to eat healthily. She goes into schools and she educates them, and the things that she was tagging with broccoli would be like specific recipes that included broccoli. So in her mind, she just threw broccoli in, the tool gave her green dots because it saw broccoli everywhere, she was good to go. But it was totally not anything she should have been focusing on.

Once I walked her through the process of, no really, what are you trying to say here, what is the point, what would people potentially search for to find this article and have them serve them and we narrow down to the right phrase. Then we looked at search volumes to see if people do search for it, she's like, oh my gosh, now I get it. I can see why this hasn't been working.

That's where I struggle, the tools' wonderful, the plug-ins are wonderful, but they are just a tool and overall SEO process, and they typically come at the very end. You have to do that strategy and that planning before you ever get there. That strategy and planning are looking at your target market, who are they, what do they struggle with, what do they need to be successful.

What do you offer that helps solve those problems? What is your competition doing, what can we glean from their data and learn from and do better? Then we take all of that information, we build a wish list of keyword phrases, I call that a seed list. We take that seed list, then we look at actual search volumes from tools like KW Finder to see if what we think people might search for is really what people search for.

You might be surprised, sometimes I get freaked out by what people actually search for. But we get those volumes, and then we can bring that back into a spreadsheet that's manageable. Then I have clients go through and we rank those for relevance. We do like a high, medium and low or none at all. What we're trying to do is we look at those individual phrases, do they really match up to their target market and how they fit with what they offer.

Then once we have that ranking, we're like okay, well now we have a smaller list. We see what's really high priority, and then we can start matching those phrases up to content on the website because you have to have that path. You have to map keyword phrases that you want to rank on two specific pieces of content. Because if you don't know where those keywords lie, then neither does Google, and they won't deliver you any traffic.

That's all strategy and planning, once we get that done, now we can write the content. Then we can use the tool, like the SEO Yost plug-in to actually optimize that content. But that's at the very end of the process, and that's where I always try to educate people and pull them back into that strategy and that planning because I want them to understand that process, and I want them to really embrace it and see what a difference it can do for them and their customer and their bottom line.

That's where you start to see shifts in the way people view SEO, the way they use SEO and the success they get from SEO.

Doug: That's really cool, and I think that's a really important part to their point is there's a lot of research in advance to make sure that you're chasing the right audience or at least you're using the right keyword to attract the right audience.

Rebecca Gill: So if your listeners are, if you have business owners on here or marketers or IT people, and if you're interviewing SEO consultants, and they're not asking you about your target market, and what they struggle with, and your website personas and that kind of thing, they're the wrong SEO consultants. Because they're not thinking through that strategy and that planning, all they're thinking is link building, which will probably end up getting you in trouble, because you don't know what they're actually doing.

So bring them back and really start to use questions that force the knowledge on what is their process and do they really actually have a process or is it just that end of the SEO stage where they're just kind of throwing stuff at it. Because that does happen, and I want people to make the right decisions when they reach out and they hire SEO consultants because I don't want the snake oil salesman thought process to continue.  There's a lot of good SEO consultants out there, it's just a matter of finding the right ones.

Doug: Well I think one of the things that we haven't discussed around hiring someone to help, someone like yourself to help a company.  Are the number of tools that are out there … so I do understand a bit of the toolset, I love technology. So I know there's a bunch of free tools, but there's also a bunch of paid tools. I think what people often forget is, well I'll do it myself, like 100% myself, and I don't want to have somebody else come in. But they've got the advantage of you having the tools, you've already licensed the tools, you're paying the monthly subscriptions, you know how to use them. So it's more than likely cheaper to have somebody like you get them set up at the beginning than me go out and buy all the tools and then learn all the tools and then do all the work.

Rebecca Gill: Well, and the data can be overwhelming. You know when you get all this data from your competitors, and it's overwhelming. We create a summary sheet for people, then we give them detail files behind that. Because a lot of people never look at the details. It's just they don't even know what to do with the data and they don't even think that way.

Some people are big picture people, and they're not data people, and SEO is about the human, but it's also about the data. You have to let the data help you make better decisions, and that's not a fit for anybody. Although like we talked about at the beginning, anybody can do SEO if you want to and if you want to dig in.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

[just click to tweet]

SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

Don't get tripped up on the algorithms. Focus yourself on doing the right thing for the human, helping the search engines find the best answer for a human's problems.

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

Doug: Yep, so what's some of the bad advice you hear out in the industry? I'm saying this from a Tim Farris book, I'm a fan of Tim Farris, and I read his latest book, and I thought that's a really good question to ask people because each of us have our level of expertise and there's always something that just raises the hair on the back of your neck, I hate when people in my industry say, X.

Rebecca Gill: I hate when people in my industry say don't worry about what I'm doing, I've got you covered. If someone's not transparent with the process they're going to go through and the steps they're going to do for you, that is a red flag. That's a big one for me.

Another one and I just said this in my private Facebook group that I have called SEO LaunchPad. Someone came in and said, it was a WordPress developer, he was like, my client wants to go from 35 website authority to 50, how do I make that happen? My question was, why do they want that? What's bringing this? Because if the client is just looking at that metric, that's not the right metric. We need to bring them back and teach them the fundamentals of SEO and how we can use that to really relate with the human. That's what we want them to be focused on, and then how that can attribute to their bottom line.

Like you were talking about with the tools, that is one of the problems with the tools, because people see that, like they'll buy a subscription to [inaudible 00:33:30] or whatever, and they see those metrics and they want to chase that, which is that's not the right, that's not the goal. The goal is to serve those humans and make sure that the serving of those humans helps your bottom line.

Doug: Yeah, it's about like you said, focusing on the right numbers. I spend a lot of time working in the email space and trying to talk people off the ledge. No, a bigger list is not what you need, you need a more engaged list. So let's not just get any traffic, let's get the right people on the list and have the right message, and then you'll have the right results.

But having a million people on your list that don't open your email because they're tired of your advertising is not going to get you the results you need.

Rebecca Gill: That is so true.

Doug: So what are you most excited about in the next six to 12 months?

Rebecca Gill: You know I think with SEO it has really shifted in two ways. One to really focus on that human right. Because we don't like to hide keywords in pages anymore as we did 15 years ago when it was [crosstalk 00:34:26] the wild west of us.

Doug:   Make this in color, right.

Rebecca Gill: Oh my gosh, the things that we used to do back in the day, they're frightening. That's not today, today it's really focusing on the user and Google's putting a strong emphasis on that and they're trying to teach webmasters and marketers how to do that and how to incorporate that human focus with the marketing and blend in SEO, and I love that. I can see that growing. The technical portions of SEO are really continuing, will continue to be a focus.

That kind of scares me because there's so much information there to have to know, and code and just like JAVA and things like that, but it's the things we can't get away from. But, the coolest thing about that is, is it makes our lives as humans better.

I mean think about when you go to Google now and you search for something, whether it be the sports scores or the weather or like the move you want to watch, what happens, you get good answers. My kids are constantly using Google for their homework, and to try to get answers that I can't come even close to answering.

That's what I love because you couldn't do that ten years ago. We had crappy answers from Google, and it took us forever to find anything. Well, that's not the case anymore, because technology's advancing. To me, that is magical, right because I think all things are possible then. If we can see those advancements that Google and Bing have had in the last two to three years, man the next two to three years are going to be exciting.

Doug: Well, and what struck me when you were talking about that was the learning that you get. So as a business owner, when you've got your site and it's performing well, and the SEO, now you've implemented it and you're updating it, you've probably learned a lot about what people are looking for and the conversations they're wanting to have with you about your business.

So you should be able to transfer that learning over to your social. So when you're talking on your social media to people, whether it's Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, they're all looking for the same thing that Google is. They're looking for good quality content and that shows up by interaction. So I'm assuming you can take that as free learning into your social space, and you'd likely get a better response because you're talking their language.

Rebecca Gill: Well and it's social media, it's email marketing, it would be in person events or online webinars. You can use that knowledge and that data and every aspect virtually of your business because it really helps you to better understand your target demographic.

Doug: That's super cool. So let's wind up our conversation today with my toughest question for all my guests. That's who's one guest that you think I absolutely have to have on my podcast?

Rebecca Gill: I would tell you to invite on Corey Miller from I-Themes and now Liquid Web. Corey's a friend of mine, you tell him that I told him he had to come on, he will come on, I promise. The reason I say that is because Corey Miller has this superpower of building a community. He's just the most genuine, likable person, and he uses the community for marketing.

For example, I-Themes sends out a ton of emails, but you don't want to unsubscribe, because you might miss something from Corey, and you might hurt his feelings if you unsubscribe because he's like has this magical ability to build up the community. He used that community, and people buy from I-Themes because of that community and because of him and his presence, and it's not a sales. It's just a genuine goodness good person from Oklahoma.

He would be a great guest, and the company was recently bought out by Liquid Web, who's a hosting company. While Liquid Web has bought I-Themes, they've let I-Themes be still independent. That's because I-Themes has a huge community, and those people in his community would have his back should he need it.

That man could go anywhere in the world, and someone could come to pick him up at the airport should he get stranded, because he's had those years of building up that rapport with people. Getting him to talk through that process would be great for your listeners.

Doug: Well that's an amazing goal for anyone to have if you're building an online business to have that sort of community and support that if you got stranded, someone would come to pick you up at the airport.

Rebecca Gill: Well, and when you go into the I-Themes office, one of the coolest things is, they've got this big wall and on the wall is individual pictures of customers and their names, so that you remember they're not a business, they're a community, and I love that. Like when I saw that, my heart melted, because it really shows that that is the core of who they are.

Then when you walk into the front door it says, “go far together,” which again is that community, and he's built the entire very successful business around that. He instills it in his employees and the whole organization just oozes that and you feel it.

Doug: Well I'm going to not only reach out to him, but I'm going to make sure I sign up because I'm always looking for good examples of people who do email right and don't send me a message every day saying, they buy my stuff, they buy my stuff. But actually add value to my life, so it would be encouraging to see that.

Rebecca Gill: They're a fun great company with just good people.

Doug: So where can people reach you, what's the best place to find you?

Rebecca Gill: So my personal website, Rebeccagill.com, will link out to all of my other properties, whether it be the agency or my online courses and things like that. So that's a great place to start for sure.

Doug: And what's your favorite social media platform to use?

Rebecca Gill: I like Twitter, although I will tell you Facebook, but not regular Facebook. My SEO group in Facebook I love because it's in a community where people, and I think any community in Facebook for this matter, where you can come in and you can ask questions, offer advice, celebrate your wins and maybe get your wounds licked when bad things happen, and I think that's pretty dang cool.

Doug: Yeah, it is, I've seen that in a few Facebook groups, and it's so exciting when you get in a group like that where they've kind of everyone's got your back, and they're there to celebrate your successes and to help you out when you have some failures.

Rebecca Gill: Yeah, I think as much as people like struggle with Facebook in different ways, I think the good groups, and that are well moderated are wonderful and they really do help build those communities up.

Doug: Well actually I want to say thanks so much for sharing this information with our listeners. I'm so interested in the space that you're in, and really happy to learn that it's not as far away from me getting involved and getting my hands on the keyboard as I thought it was.

Rebecca Gill: No, and I would encourage listeners to, if you're brand new to SEO, don't fear it, just take a few minutes to just start learning. You don't need to bite off a big chunk of it, just learn a little bit at a time, and you'll realize it is not as scary as you think. It's just about good old-fashioned marketing, but doing it in a little bit of different manner.

Doug: Yeah, totally makes sense. So there we go listeners, this is another episode of Real Marketing, Real Fast, and hopefully today, any of your fears and concerns about SEO have been lowered, and I would encourage you to head over to Rebecca's website. I've been over to her diyseocourses.com website, and there's lots of information and there's some free information there. So we'll make sure that we have a link to Rebecca's site and her social media.

I would encourage you to reach out, leave us a comment, some feedback, a question on this post once it's up and running, and just tune in again. So thanks for listening, and we look forward to serving you on our next episode.

Rebecca Gill: Okay, great.

Doug: Well excellent, that's a wrap.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SHARE THIS EPISODE: SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

[just click to tweet]

SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

Don't get tripped up on the algorithms. Focus yourself on doing the right thing for the human, helping the search engines find the best answer for a human's problems.

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

Get in touch with Rebecca:

Find out more about Rebecca:

Links to other related podcasts and or blog posts:

THE LONG TAIL APPROACH TO FINDING AND RETAINING CUSTOMERS

HOW ANYONE CAN ALMOST GET ANYTHING TO THE TOP OF GOOGLE

SUCCESSFUL SEO: REMEMBER THE HUMAN FACTOR

Share your thoughts, comments 
and post your questions below: