HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR GOOGLE RANKS IN 2020

How to improve your Google ranks in 2020 with Matt LaClear

  • It took me a good three, four years after Penguin to really realize, I'm never going to hack the algorithm again. Then it just became a pursuit of just doing best practices.
  • Today, SEO is about giving your users what they're looking for.
  • Google's not going to rank whether based upon the quality of your recipe. They're going to base it upon how many other sites are linking to yours.
  • All we're doing is building up social equity with the prospects before we make our ask.
  • Small businesses are the backbone of our country. They're what makes us tick. They're what's going to get us through this crisis.

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Today, SEO and improving your Google ranks is about giving your users what they're looking for.

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Doug Morneau: Well, welcome back listeners to another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today, we've got a really interesting guest in the studio with us, Matt LaClear. He's got a very generous offer at this time as many businesses are suffering through economic hardship. His company's offered free SEO services for all American businesses if those businesses are willing to pay it forward. Make sure you stay tuned to the very end to get the details of Matt's offer.

Doug Morneau:

Matt LaClear is a SEO expert. He's the founder of a marketing agency called Your Ad Squad. Matt's teams' purpose is the very best referral prospects available any given industry with the purpose of doubling the size of the business. They are experienced in working with the big fish yet they love small businesses and never act like a candidate is above or working with them. They help their clients to set up their sights on the biggest referral targets in their industry resulting in huge dividends. It forces their clients to game up to the next level of growth in their business.

Doug Morneau: I'd like you to join me in welcoming Matt LaClear to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today.

Doug Morneau: Hey, Matt, super excited to have you on the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today. Welcome to the show.

Matt LaClear: Thanks, Doug. Glad to be here.

Doug Morneau: Looking forward to this conversation. Like I said, I've got my pen and notepad out, SEO and making sure that we get more of the right traffic to our website and get them to execute. It's always important to me.

Doug Morneau: Do you want to give us just a bit of background on what your superpower is and how you help people in this particular space?

Matt LaClear: Yeah. But I started in this business when I was 25. That doesn't sound like such a big deal anymore. But I'm 50 now. I started out … really this won't be my life story. But I started out in the lazy side of marketing back then when the internet was brand new, everything worked. I mean everything. it was you could go out and take a boat out into the middle of the lake and drop a bear hook in, with a rusty bear hook with a cane pole, just a $2 fishing pole and catch a 40 pound lake trout. Then you could do it all day long where you became a fishing expert within three days. I mean, that's what it used to be like. It was instant money. You could rank number one for a keyword within a couple three days. But those days are over.

Matt LaClear: Long story short, I was very good on the Black Hat side of things. Then Penguin hit in 2012. When they hit, our agency was running over 10, 11,000 campaigns for customers. In 2012, when they hit, over half of them lost their rankings and they had to let people go. They had to downsize. They had to move into their old rental properties. The ones they moved out of when I got them the rankings. It's like every bit of kudos I got as a Black Hat artist was disintegrated by Penguin and it should have been, too. Because in those days, the way we did SEO was, “Hey, listen, I found a hack. We can get past the warehouse guard by going in this window right here. Here's my ladder going through the window. If you give me 10 bucks or 100 bucks, I'll let you …”

Doug Morneau: I'll hold the ladder.

Matt LaClear: Yeah. Hold the ladder for you. If I see any lights, I'm running. But it's not that way anymore. It took me a good three, four years after Penguin to really realize, I'm never going to hack the algorithm again. Then it just became a pursuit of just doing best practices and the fact what's in it.

Matt LaClear: Today, SEO is about giving your user what they're looking for. If you know what your users looking for, you have to give them the content that they need. Then if you want to build a relationship with that prospect based upon their need and your need for the customer, you have to build a bridge from that piece of content to where you're at.

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Matt LaClear: Now, let me give you an example. If you're selling apple pies and recipes, and that's your blog posts, and you have a lot of great recipes for apple pies, but you have a really good one that you sell and it sells, great. But if somebody is looking in the old days of Google, before Penguin, anybody could rank for that keyword apple pie. It could be a vendor selling apple pies. It could be a vendor selling recipes on apple pies. It could be the rock band apple pie. It could be the guy selling cinnamon for apple pies. It could be a ClickBank product. How to get into the apple pie business?

Matt LaClear: If people don't realize this, remember … but there was a time when Google didn't work all that great. It was not that great of a tool. Now it is. That's because SEO, guys like me, had to quit doing Black Hats. People still try Black Hat. But it's more like a dash and grab where you break a window and run into the warehouse to steal a ranking until you get called two days later. Then you get your site penalized. That's what Black Hat is today.

Matt LaClear: But it took me a long time to get over that mindset of, “Hey, why are we going to work to get all this traffic? That's work. Why don't we just sneak in?” That mentality, unfortunately, still on our industry and it's very attractive to a small business owner just starting out. It's a very attractive piece of bait, too. Yeah. Give me $200 and we'll cheat for you. Then we'll get you rankings. You'll make money with that ranking and way more than you're making now. Yeah. You might get caught one day, but at least you're making money now. Just save some of it so you can mark it a little more legitimately the next time.

Doug Morneau: Next later?

Matt LaClear: Yeah. But in the old days, it would take two, three years for Google to catch up to a brand that was cheating. Now, it takes two or three days.

Doug Morneau: Wow.

Matt LaClear: If it's a real brand, do you really want to upset Google to the point where you're blowing up the bridge for that?

Doug Morneau: No. Not a chance.

Matt LaClear: That's why Black Hat is so bad now. But it was a very … it crashed so many boats into the rocks, the sirens calling the sailors to the rocks just to crash it. But it's not as much anymore. It's just a lot of old …

Doug Morneau: People seem to do that with just about every platform. I mean, I think Gary Vaynerchuk's quote that I like the most is, “Everything works for a while then marketers get in and ruin it.” Like you're saying you went through this transition of Black Hat to now White Hat and best practices. Email went from bulk emailing, spamming, trekking, using images to hide. They've got better. It's had to clean up. Eventually, we go through this cycle where you have to have your “come to Jesus meeting” and get things right or you're just not going to survive.

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Matt LaClear: Yeah. In this industry, those who shouldn't be in existence won't be in existence anymore. Back in the old days, you could be in existence even if you didn't deserve to win if your company was horrible. But you got the right backlinks, you won and you got the money.

Matt LaClear: Now you might have horrible conversion rates like 1 in 1,000 people hitting your site, buys. But if you're getting 10,000 visitors a day for free, that's 10 sales. It's like, “I'm gold.” I said, “Wow, if you would just fix that page a little bit and you could get your close rate up a little higher, but you hit the nail right on the head when you said that a plat for what Gary V. said, probably with an F word or two thrown in. Gary's got his personality.

Doug Morneau: He does.

Matt LaClear: My first marketing bid was actually sending emails. The National Association of Realtors had a whole database on their site in 1996. I downloaded the whole thing. It was 65,000 real estate agents, and I said, “Well, what if I sent them all an email? Let's try it.” Then I sent 30,000, half of the list went out. On the first day, they all went to the first guy on the list because I said, [inaudible 00:08:04]. One guy got 30,000 emails from us. That was my very first. I should have got out of it.

Matt LaClear: But the next day I figured it out and the guy was really cool about it and we reset. I think I had 65 voicemails from people interested and wanting to hire us. It was just from a push of a button, they would send me such nice notes says, “I can't believe that you sent me an email. My son just bought me this computer two weeks ago. This is the first email I've ever gotten. You say you sell real estate services. I'm a real estate agent. How odd is that?” Not odd at all.

Doug Morneau: A coincidence. Now you do that and the email service providers will shut you down in 30 seconds. They'll figure it out.

Matt LaClear: Yeah. It took months before and months and months and months and months and months. Before, we didn't even have a word for spam. They didn't care. They let us do a Comcast which is a big internet provider here in Michigan. They let us go on for two years sending out that many emails. It just, “No, I didn't know it was wrong. They didn't know what was wrong.” But it just got to a point where then we'd have to send out 20,000 emails to get one response. Then it was 50,000. Then soon we had a bulletproof server that could send out a million emails a day. We were doing that to get the same conversions that we used to get out of 5,000.

Matt LaClear: I got the writing on the wall and I said, “Okay, I'm out of this.” Then we moved over to Black Hat. The Black Hat was, “Well, let's just start up 3,000 of our own sites, .info sites, put some WordPress on it, and put some content on it, and just spam our own sites with links for clients.” We took right off. I thought I was a genius. I quit spamming emails and I started spamming my own site. Who could possibly complain about that?

Doug Morneau: That's funny.

Matt LaClear: Google.

Doug Morneau: Moving the 2020's, I would back the bus up a bit to something you said because I want to make sure that our listeners get that. You said that the secret to SEO today is giving the user what they're looking for. Do you want to just explain in your words what that means? For somebody who's listening, who's got a website, saying, “Okay, I thought that's what I was doing.” Maybe you can explain what that is.

Matt LaClear: Yeah. First of all, it's getting into the mindset of Google first, not just the customers. In the old marketing, you'd have to get into the mindset of your prospects and then that's it. You wouldn't have to get into the mindset of anybody else. But now we have to get into the mindset of Google too because they're the ones that are … they have already earned the prospects that we're trying to get to our site. They've already earned the right for those prospects to do business with them. They count those people as their customers. If we want Google to send us their customers, we have to take care of Google. They know when somebody searches … every time we search on Google anything.

Matt LaClear: We go to a website, Google is keeping track, whether or not we found what we're looking for. Because I mentioned before 2012, Google was not a very effective tool. It wasn't the sharpest knife in the kitchen. It was a very dull tool that works sometimes. But now, it's a precision tool because it gives you exactly what you're looking for. All we have to do is figure out. We bid on a keyword or when we optimize a page for a keyword, we have to figure out what the user is trying to figure out when they search that keyword. Then we have to give the user what they're looking for. It is so easy to test. There's no guesswork in this system at all, because Google's already a precise tool.

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Matt LaClear: All you have to do is take the keyword and go search it on Google right now. Look at the sites that are ranking for that keyword, then look at the pages, then look at the titles, and watch how it's pretty much they're all the same thing, telling the same story. When you find that, you found the user intent for that keyword. If you go with any type of article or any type of content that is different than the pages that are ranking on page one for that keyword, you're going to have a very hard time  ranking for you. It might work locally. But it won't work for any type of keyword that will bring in life changing business.

Matt LaClear: That's what I mean about user intent. If you take care of the user, you're giving Google what they want and we have to get into the head of the user. Thankfully, Google makes that easy because there's such a precise tool right now. We couldn't use them 10 years ago to figure out what our prospects were looking for and what their intent was on search.

Doug Morneau: That brings up another thought. You talked about the content. While you were sharing there, I did type in apple pie just to see who came up and I see there's 586 million results. It took less than a minute … actually talk a little more, took it was 0.71 seconds, less than a second to give me the results.

Doug Morneau: If you're writing content because there's so much conversation these days around content, content, content. If you write good content for your website, it'll help you rank. But to me, it sounds like there's more to it than that. You're saying, understand user intent, look at what the other sites are writing about. Are you recommending your clients then when they're writing, or they're producing content, or whether they're doing it, or you're helping them that they're going to do that research before they write the piece?

Matt LaClear: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, sometimes you have to write the piece beforehand because it is what it is. If you're writing a piece of content and as a business owner, you're like, “Yeah, this has to come out now, what keyword am I going to find for it?” Now sometimes you get a piece like that then you could then go look and find a keyword that fits after you write the piece. Then you could massage it into the thing. But for the apple pie, we're looking at it and it's there's apple pie recipe, apple pie recipe, apple pie recipe, perfect apple pie, homemade apple pie, homemade apple pie.

Matt LaClear: Then right down there, right on the bottom of the list, there's a King Arthur apple pie, for King Arthur flour. We got one. Still, if you were going to try, if I had a client come up and tell me a prospect and say, “I want to pay you X amount of dollars to rank for apple pie for my beautiful apple pie posters.” I'm like, “No, I'm not going to take your money.” In the old days, we would, because it wouldn't matter what your subject was. You could rank regardless of what your topic was just by using backlinks and using the right anchor text and those links and then that told Google, “Yeah, this is about apple pie.” But now, you have zero chance of ranking anything on page one of Google for apple pie if it's anything other than the recipes.

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Doug Morneau: That's user intent. Now, you mentioned backlinks. Excuse my ignorance. But I'm just to show you where my thinking is. Are people still using backlinks? Are they effective?

Matt LaClear: Yeah. They're very effective. They're going to keep using it too as long as Google's around. There's no way for Google to figure out what sites are worthy of being ranked. I'm looking here at these apple pies and I'm looking at King Arthur flour is on the page. Taste of Home is number one, allrecipes.com, pillsbury.com, foodnetwork.com.

Matt LaClear: Now if you go and look and put these any of those sites into a backlink checker like Ahrefs, we call href or Moz or Majestic, and just any backlink checker and look at how many sites are actually linking to these domains. You'll find millions, if not hundreds of thousands, if not millions. That means a lot of bloggers are linking to it or sharing it. The YouTubers are sharing it. There's a lot of times where people are linking over to the pillsbury.com.

Matt LaClear: Now, if you started a brand new site and you had apple pie recipe, and it's a great apple pie recipe as far as apple pies go, it's the best recipe in town. It's much better than the pillsbury.com one. Everybody loves it and grandma's own recipe. But as you try to rank that recipe, it's not going to be … Google's not going to rank whether based upon the quality of your recipe. They're going to base it upon how many other sites are linking to yours. They can't judge whether or not your recipes any good. But they can judge whether or not other people think your recipes are good. The only way they can do that is by looking at the backlinks coming in from other sites. If other sites are linking to your site, it's almost a Rolodex. Anybody that starts a business can succeed.

Matt LaClear: But if you start a business and you have a Rolodex, you have a much better chance of succeeding. When Google sees that Rolodex online in the form of links, they're like, “Okay, this is a connected page and the recipe must be good.” Because the bottom line is Google doesn't care if your recipes any good. They just care whether or not your customers think it's good. If you get a bunch of sites linking to you, they take your word for it. While at the same time, that's another part of the algorithm. I don't want to get in the weeds. But you got to get clicks too. You can get enough rankings to get to page one. But if you're focused and you're constantly standing on the bottom of page one, you can't climb up.

Matt LaClear: You have to optimize for clicks and optimize for click-throughs. Then it's almost a competition. Whoever is on page one, whoever gets the most clicks, goes to page one, goes to number one. Because that's the one that's taking care of customers, that's the one Google's click … users are clicking. That's the one that Google's customers like. Therefore, Google likes it. You got to have enough backlinks and optimization. You get to page one. Then you have to have a good meta description and a good meta title that gets clicks in order to win the attention of the people who searched the keyword. Then as you move more, then when you win that attention, your rankings improve. That's RankBrain.

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Matt LaClear: It's a lot. You can get in the weeds really quickly with the algorithm. I try not to. But it is hard. Even your listeners have rankings on page one and are 7 to 10, or 6 to 10, look at the meta descriptions of the other people ranking above you. Look at what they're saying that you're not. If you can make it a little more enticing to get the click without taking your keywords out of the meta description or title, you're going to get a better ranking.

Doug Morneau: There you go. One of the notes I just made and speaking to the salesperson in those of us that are in business, and maybe this description sums up that Google really is the gatekeeper. As a salesperson, often you'll hear salespeople complain that I can't get past the gatekeeper. I can't get past the secretary. There's been whole seminars and books written about how to get past the gatekeeper in a traditional face-to-face sale.

Doug Morneau: What you're saying is that Google views these people as their customers, and they're not going to let them through the gate to your store to your website to your landing page unless you're going to look after them?

Matt LaClear: Yeah. Because if you don't, those are quickly going to become Bing customers. Then they can't sell the paper clicks and the clicks and everything else. That's why Google is in business is to make money. If they're not making money, if people don't trust their tool, then people are going to go to Bing or there are a million other things, search engines too. Once I started viewing SEO, okay, wait a minute, all I have to do is really take care of my customers and it hit me. I should be doing that anyway.

Matt LaClear: Not trying to rank and beat algorithms and all that other stuff. Then it all fell into place after that. It just became a matter of, if you take care of people with your content and make sure it's content they want, you get it optimize for the right keywords, and then you solve the problem so they don't immediately back out and try to find a competitor who's also ranking on page one because you didn't answer their questions, your rankings improved.

Matt LaClear: Not only that, but your conversions improved, because the content is now not based on fooling Google, but it's based upon taking care of the needs of your clients. That lowers your bounce rate and that increased number.

Doug Morneau: Good business sets.

Matt LaClear: Yeah. Absolutely, 100%.

Doug Morneau: How do you go about getting good premium links? I was looking through your background, your bio and says possibly good premium links. Add that to your website from people who will appreciate it more than you. I find that hard to believe. I'm so grateful when somebody links to my content because it's doing my business a big favor, if you will, in Google's eyes. Do you have a strategy that you suggest to people? Do they do it themselves? Do you guys help them? Do you do it for them? What's your feedback on that?

Matt LaClear: We do that for them. Really it came from reading old Dale Carnegie book. It was How to Win Friends and Influence People. I was reading it. I was like, “Man, this would really work for link outreach.” The basic problem with most outreach today is that any of the people doing it is they just go to Moz and grab a template that four million people have used and they start sending it out. They put their own link information in. But most of the templates are written horribly. They're written for a content writer who is writing a piece of content, and they need to show an example of a template. They just write something from scratch. That doesn't mean they sent it.

Matt LaClear: But what I've noticed is that if you take the time, most of the time, people send outreach, it's about give me, give me, give me, give me, give me, please give me a link, please give me a link, please give me a link. But nobody cares. The problem is when a prospect gets our email outreach message, we have to enter the conversation they're already having in their head. “Oh, that's an old cliche.” But they're thinking about their sales. They're thinking about profits. They're thinking about getting their costs down. They're not thinking about me. They're not. It took me a decade to figure that out. I'm always thinking about me. Why wouldn't everybody think about me?

Matt LaClear: As soon as I reach their inbox, if I'm talking about me, I lose them and 99.999% of the outreach being sent out today is about the outreach specialist. What we've learned to do is so simple, is we find our prospects, and we get very selective, we call them golden prospects. You can't do this with just any prospect. You find the people in your industry who are in a position to help you grow your business the fastest. By that, I mean, they already have a website in your industry. They're not your competitor. They're not selling anything remotely close to what you sell. They've already earned the respect and the admiration of thousands and thousands of prospects in your industry who you would love to have as your customers and It's a good fit for you.

Matt LaClear: I won't give any examples. It's pretty easy to find those golden prospects. Then what you do is when you find them, you get about 30 of them and you find all their social media accounts. You find whether or not they have written any books. You go on LinkedIn, and you find them and you do all this stuff. You just fill a spreadsheet out without contacting them. Then it's simple as this. Day one, you like their Facebook page. Day two, you follow them on Twitter. Day three, you add them to a public list on Twitter, Day four, you buy their book. Day five, you leave a review on their book, on the book under Kindle. Day six, you send them a LinkedIn request telling them how much you like their book. Then when they accept it, day seven, you give them a referral on their LinkedIn page saying, “Hey, I love your book so much I had to tell other people about it.” Day eight, you could skip this. You opt into their list. Then you reply to one of the emails with an intelligent question.

Matt LaClear: You do this for a month before you make any of your asks. All you're doing is you're ingraining the name of the link builder with the prospect for a solid month before you reach out. Then by the time you finally do reach out, they know who you are. They know that you're not just about yourself. You've taken the time in a lot of times. You do that. Week one, you send out those messages to 30 people and follow. It doesn't take that long.

Matt LaClear: Then you start reciprocating with the people who will reciprocate back with you. Not all of those 30 golden prospects are going to respond right back to you. Some will thank you for sharing their stuff. Some will thank you for commenting on their blog, maybe a handful out of the 30. It's that handful of people you spend the month with. By sharing more of their stuff, leaving more blog comments, and doing things like that, maybe even buying their stuff if it's somewhat affordable. If you're a customer, now they really think of you as different.

Matt LaClear: All we're doing is building up social equity with the prospects before we make our ask. Then we make our ask. It's as simple as making the prospect giving us the link more than we get, forgetting it. A perfect example is … Let's say you don't do all that much effort. Let's say you don't have time to go and you own an eCommerce site and you want to get a link from another eCommerce site. How do you get them to value giving you a link more than you get from receiving? It's as simple as saying, “Listen, you sell blueberry pies, I sell apple pies. I'll never sell blueberry pies. Whenever somebody searches blueberry pies on my internal search on our store, we're going to say we don't sell blueberry pies, but these guys do. Go get a blueberry pie from them. They're delicious and ask us how we know.”

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Matt LaClear: Now you're getting referrals and then you reach out to the prospect and say, to the blueberry pie company say, “Listen, we just added you to our internal search. We're not asking you to do the same. If you added apple pie to your internal search, we would love it. But we just want to be your referral partner. Then it's a matter of this, what can we do for you?” Well, now that you mentioned it, we'd like to give you guest posts or something like that.

Matt LaClear: Now, they don't have to reciprocate. You did something nice for them. It's all about doing little things for people and building them social equity points to the point where you then can make your ask, but you then still make your ask in a way that benefits them more than it benefits you. They get a nice piece of content. They get all the nice things you did for them in the previous couple weeks. You get a link. Someone might say, “Well, big deal.” Well, it is a big deal. That link is the link that Google's going to like. But once you took the effort to get that one link, you go and get a second one because now you have a relationship with an influencer in your industry. Then you can get referrals from them. Then they'll mention you in their newsletter.

Matt LaClear: I had to have with an influencer, they mentioned my book, my SEO book, Link Building book in Amazon. It went to number two for SEO. It was at number 179 before that. One mention in the newsletter, industry newsletter and I went to number two. That's when you get relationships with people like that if you're going to do link building it might as well be with the people who are going to be able to help you grow your business the fastest. They're in a position to give you referrals now. They give you one link. They give you a second link. Then they start giving you a newsletter mentions. Then they start giving you referrals.

Matt LaClear: Listen, I'm getting a bunch of people asking me for this and I don't offer it. Can you help me? Why yes, I can. That's how you build referrals. We use link building as a business development plan to build relationships up for our clients with the biggest people in the industry that can help them grow the fastest. That starts out by doing nice things for them. I guess I could have given the cliff-note version of the answer.

Doug Morneau: No. That was great. You can use that approach, I think, just about with any relationship, like you said building social equity. People ask me all the time, “Well, what's the secret to pitching and getting on somebody's podcast?” I get lots of really poor pitches and I get a few good ones. Then the agencies are really smart. They've got their skills down. But just to what you said it's, are we connected on social? No. Have you listened to my podcast? No. Have you left me a review? No. Well, if you want to get on my radar and increase your chances of being a guest, to your point, listen to my podcast or to your point look at my website, see, does my website, does my content, does my business philosophy, is it in alignment with my brand before I just send out a blanket email to find that some brand I don't really want to be aligned with. But, hey, guess what, I got a link.

Matt LaClear: Yeah. That's exactly what it is. It says, “Well, if I'm going to reach out to you … ” well, it's a bad example because I'm on your podcast right now. But I would first of all, it doesn't matter who's … but if it was Joe Rogan's podcast, let's use Joe Rogan as an example, somebody where if you got on Joe Rogan and if your product matched his audience, you're going to make some money. You know that …

Doug Morneau: Absolutely.

Matt LaClear: … you're going to get sleep the night before or you're not going to get any sleep. It's going to be a tough one. Then you go to it. But how do you get Joe? Man, you follow Joe. You retweet Joe. PR experts call it “read and react” where they get their list of prospects and they follow them across all social platforms. On Twitter, you can use TweetDeck for this. Then just follow their tweets. Then reply to them intelligently and just get your name in front of the prospect so they recognize who you are.

Matt LaClear: That way when you do ask, Dan Kennedy said it, as marketers we have to get prospects to quit thinking of us as an unwelcome pest and start thinking of us as a welcome guest. The best way to get premium prospects, to think of you as a welcome guest is not to be the pest and asking for your needs upfront. They know you need links. They know that they could give you referrals. If we come and ask for them too soon in the relationship, we blow it. Ryan Deiss says this from Digital Marketer, he says, “Sometimes it does hurt to ask if you ask too soon in the relationship.”

Doug Morneau: Yeah. I think you're right. I mean, because I clearly see pitches that way come in, “Hey, I've written this really great article. I'd like you to post it on your blog.” I remember one company that pitched me. What was interesting was the article was okay, but when I looked at the background of the company, I was super interested in the founder what they had done. I sent a note back and they said, “I'm not interested in posting your article at the bottom of a previous podcast guest.” I just don't think that's cool for me to post something else in the bottom of your episode, I said, “But I would be interested in interviewing your CEO.” I never heard back from them. They were clearly just blasting out emails. If the answer is no link, it was as they flush and we were gone out of their ecosystem, which actually I don't mind because it was good for me to write.

Matt LaClear: Oh man. You ended up wasting your time like a mosquito almost. It's like there was nothing of benefit to you from that whatsoever. How dare they try to build relationships up with people then leading with that? That's what most link builders do. Most people trying to get links are a little nervous. They got to ask for the link and even asking a girl out to dance is scary as that was when I was in school. You had to work up to it a little bit. At least I couldn't go to a strange girl that I've never seen before and ask her to dance. No. It was a 10-minute routine. I might not do it. My friends are over there watching me so I've got to do something.

Matt LaClear: But the point is there has to be effort put into the relationship building. Otherwise, you're just coming forward with your own needs. Even 100 years ago if you get sales books they call them correspondence where they would write direct mail. These guys wrote all the direct mail for all the sales. Then they'd write collection letters and all the holiday special, everything. Usually, one or two guys wrote everything. Even 100 years ago, there were people failing at business because they wrote all their stuff from their own perspective in their own needs. One hundred years ago these people were made fun of by successful direct marketers just because they couldn't figure out, you can't lead with yourself. Not unless you're Will Smith. Even Will Smith couldn't get away with it today.

Matt LaClear: People care about themselves and their family and they care about what they care about. If we're a stranger to them, they don't care about us. Even if they're not a stranger, even if they are our twin brother or identical brother even he's not thinking about this all the time. Let's not lean on that and rely on that when we do outreach.

Doug Morneau: Well, to your advice that you shared with us, you said golden prospects, you said find 30 of them. You didn't say fine 303,000, 30,000 you didn't say by an email list of everybody that's in America. You said find 30 people. For those of you that are listening that think this sounds like work, yeah, it's work. The good news is you can do it, or you can hire somebody to do it, or you can have a staff member do it. But it is going to be work.

Doug Morneau: The great news is that you only have 30 people that you're working with at one point in time. It's …

Matt LaClear: It's even better than that because they don't all reciprocate right away. By reciprocate, I mean, you send an email and they don't respond back, or if you retweet them a few times, and they don't say anything, or if you send them a LinkedIn request and they're just not following you back and there's no reciprocation back. A lot of them are busy, especially if they're good prospects. They're busy. Maybe they're there. They're just nowhere near their computer. But a handful of them will. It's a handful that makes this system so easy to do, because you just end up reading their books and you're reading their blog posts. Usually, if they're smart, and they got a big following, it's for a reason.

Matt LaClear: I always say, “To be the best in your industry, you have to learn from the best. To learn from the best, you have to read the best. If you're going to read from the best, you might as well get a link from them.”

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Doug Morneau: There we go. I like that. You might as well get a link from them. I was going to ask you. What are you most excited about right now, Matt, looking at where we are in the world and what you see coming down the pipe? I mean, we talked about Penguin, which is a major change in your business. What's got you, keeps you up at night thinking about the opportunity?

Matt LaClear: Well, right now, it's the crisis, what's happening with COVID-19. There's many small business owners that are just bobbing in place right now. Some of them are sinking. Our efforts is just trying to … I don't want to use say this in a capitalistic way that makes me a capitalist pig. Our economy right now is in a yellow flag economy. In NASCAR, you're not supposed to pass anybody when you see a yellow flag. That's the rules.

Matt LaClear: But if you can help people get through this crisis, whether it's putting together a blog post on how to apply for the PayPal … I always call it PayPal … the Paycheck Protection Plan or how to get a grant for $10,000 emergency loan to cover payroll and how to do that. If you can help your prospects, if you're B2B, get that help right now and just offer all the help you can on that front regardless of what you sell. A percentage of those people are going to end up doing business with you.

Matt LaClear: What we've done is we created a resource page, COVID-19 relief. It has over 200 sources of money and revenue that small business owners in America can get. Some of them, somebody in England or Great Britain is going to have to do theirs and Australia will have to do their own. But we did one for American companies. What our goal is just to drive as many people there as possible. Offer webinars and how to fill the grants out. I had nothing to do with SEO. But it does have everything to do with helping small businesses.

Matt LaClear: Small businesses are the backbone of our country. They're what makes us tick. They're what's going to get us through this crisis. Because when small business starts working, jobs happen. Then people get jobs, the economy just hums right along. It's going to happen again and we want to be part of that. We can't just wait for people to get money to pay us again. We're happening. We secured our payroll from the government. We're going to say, “We're offering free services, SEO services to any American small business who needs help. We're doing free SEO. We're helping them get grants.” That's what I'm excited about. It's a horrible thing to be excited about as a crisis. But if you know how to help somebody and you can, and you got a lifeboat, it's not boring.

Doug Morneau: Well, it's better than the other side. I understand what you're saying. You have to be sensitive because there's people hurting, there's people sick, there's people losing loved ones. But on the other side, I think I would feel worse if I couldn't help. Nothing worse than sitting back going, “I wish there was something I could do to help my neighbor, to help my small business, to help my fill in the blank.” You have that ability. I have that ability. Lots of people do.

Doug Morneau: To your point, now's the time to roll up our sleeves, and like they say, “We're all in it together. Help who we can to be stronger and to survive.” Because surely, if we lose 30% of the small businesses through this, there's going to be a lot less prospects for everybody. I think, to your point, we need to do this.

Matt LaClear: Yeah. It's one of those. Every generation has a moment like this, I imagine. This is our moment. Either we buckle down, you can see … I see my competition. They were there just their knees turned to jelly and they're nervous. Maybe they had all their clients in the … especially if they're in the hospitality and if they're helping hotels and restaurants, they just lost everybody. By luck, we lost no one and it was just a being an industry. Plus you have to be a resource for your clients. If I get fired during a crisis, because they're not making enough sales, I didn't do my job as their marketing guy. I want to be the guy, oh my gosh, we got to pay Matt double. We need more man, not less than Matt.

Doug Morneau: Yeah. That's right.

Matt LaClear: But I'm 50. But a 25-year-old man would have handled it a little differently. Now I said, “Okay, we'll keep our wits about us. We'll socially isolate. We'll do everything we can. Let's just keep the grants first. Get your payroll. Hire people. Even if you don't have any customers, do free work, and just pay it.” That's what we're telling people. Our cost for our SEO services right now is,  “pay it forward.” If you're an American small business and you need help getting back on your feet, SEO will help do that. We can't do everything but we can do SEO. We'll give free services for that. If that small business will give free services to another small business because this is all we got to do is pay it forward.

Matt LaClear: SEO isn't rocket science. Sometimes we like to charge like it's rocket science, but it's just following a set pattern. My six-year-old kid almost solved a Rubik's Cube and she couldn't even touch it before. It's just from using algorithms. Once you learn the algorithm, it's just a pattern. It's very simple to do. That's all SEO is. It looks like it's hard work. The hard work is figuring out what doesn't work. Hard work is figuring out, “Oh, I can't fool Google anymore. Why did I waste four years of my life going after that?”

Doug Morneau: That's what comes from experience, gray hair, and a few years of business experience.

Matt LaClear: Yeah. I really love business. You asked, what gets me excited about business? Just being in business. I remember my first day being in business. It was like looking over this horizon that the whole world was mine. It turned out it wasn't. But that's ….

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Doug Morneau: That's when we're young. We thought that. I remember those days. Two questions and I'll wrap up and let you go back to doing what you're doing and that's serving people and helping them out. The first question is who's one guest I absolutely have to have on my podcast?

Matt LaClear:

Brian Dean of backlinko.com. Brian Dean is a big mentor of mine. He's taught me so much SEO, really how to take care of the user. His website, backlinko.com is phenomenal. His YouTube channel is phenomenal. If you search Brian Dean or backlinko.com

Doug Morneau: Can I ask you for an introduction, Matt?

Matt LaClear: 100%, yes.

Doug Morneau: Here's the most important question. For people who are listening, regardless of where you are around the world and want to connect with Matt and his team and especially if you are an American company want to connect and join with Matt, join hands and arms and move forward and pay it forward. Where should people reach out to you?

Matt LaClear: Our website is yourseosquad.com, yourseosquad.com. There's two things they could do. Number one, we have a contact page. If you want free SEO services, even if you weren't doing SEO before a hit, what else do you got to do while you're waiting for the economy to get going again? You might as well get your SEO kicked into gear while you're working on other things. We know how to do that for you. Just go to yourseosquad.com. Hit the contact page and just send me a message and then we'll reply back to you and get you going.

Matt LaClear: Also, this whole golden prospect marketing system I talked about, I layout for free. If you go to yourseosquad.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the Link Building Mastery link. You'll see access to three courses that I made available all in link building teaching how to do golden prospect marketing. You don't even have to subscribe to get it. There's no email. It's all laid right out there in open for anybody who wants to watch it. I don't get a lot of YouTube. I used to sell for $2,000. Doug and I got to a point now where it's for free, and I get three or four views a week on them. I'm like, “This is the most intense training I've ever put out.” It really will teach you how to get links from anybody and referrals from anybody, but it's work. Most people that buy a course won't implement in any way.

Doug Morneau: No. That was our other conversation I had with a bunch of business guys through America. We said, “Hey, now at least with this social distancing, and quarantine, we can take all those courses we bought on Black Friday.”

Matt LaClear: Yeah. I might watch the first one.

Doug Morneau: Yeah. That's right.

Matt LaClear: Well, you know what, my first e-book, my first business was an e-book business. I sold it to real estate agents of all people. I told you about my list. We got to the point where I think I had 200 people buy it for $50 a-piece and I had the wrong download link sending to them. How many complaints do you think I got out of 200? Zero, not one of them even tried to download it after buying it. They just bought it. You can even have to have an e-book. You can say buy my e-book and give a broken link and you can make money in those days.

Doug Morneau: That's bad.

Matt LaClear: Yeah. Well, our targeting was too. Our targeting was, well, if we're going after real estate agents, if they're men, then they have to be making money. At that time, they're not to be sexist. But marketers sometimes sound sexist. I knew that female real estate agents probably had husbands too that were working. I was right. Their credit card was very free. That was just a little survival thing. That sounds totally sexist than it is. But it worked in our favor that they just bought whatever we sold because it was something that they're going to read one day. They're busy there. They just never got to it. What a shame. There's so much information out. Back then there wasn't. But now you can learn to do anything.

Doug Morneau: Sometimes I'll take a course and really me taking a course a paid course from somebody is a qualifier before I hire them because I want to see if they know their stuff. To your point, you can go to your website, look at the information, if it makes sense. You've got the time and the resources to execute. You can execute. But if not, you can go through all of Matt's information and then you'll know what they're talking about when you hire him.

Matt LaClear: Yeah. Beware of anybody in any industry that is nebulous about what they're going to do for you. Because if they can't explain it, and there's a good chance that there's a reason they can't explain it. Yeah. Just know what you're getting into. That's why we lay it all out there. It's great for conversions. But it's not so good on the … used to get us a lot of sales like I said. But now it's more about everybody that watches it and we're thinking of hiring us and they get to the course and they just hire us. It's still good. Having a course is great, even if you have it for free. I recommend any of you listeners set a course up and not even try to sell it. But just to build credibility.

Doug Morneau: Great advice. I want to say thanks so much, Matt, for taking time out of your day and sharing and being so generous with our audience and making that exceptional offer to your fellow business owners.

Matt LaClear: Yeah. Thanks for having me on. I always like chatting. It's nice to be able to talk a little business instead of all the other stuff that's been going on.

Doug Morneau: Absolutely. There you go, listeners. This is another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. We had Matt LaClear giving us a fair bit of information on SEO. I'm pretty excited in terms of reframing my thinking around Google. I've always said that Google is wanting to serve the best result they can for searchers. But I think Matt helped me to even clarify that more and looking at Google as a gatekeeper. They're not going to let people through if I'm not going to look after them.

Doug Morneau: I want to say thanks again to Matt. I want to thank you guys for tuning in. I'd encourage you to head over to Matt's website and take advantage of the resources he's got. We'll make sure that we've got a link to the yourseosquad.com on the show notes. Thanks for tuning in. I look forward to serving you on our next episode.

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