E-Commerce secrets to scale

052 - Why It’s So Important To Market To Users On Mobile Devices With Steve Wiideman

052 – Why It’s So Important To Market To Users On Mobile Devices With Steve Wiideman

E-Commerce Secrets To Scale is a marketing and entrepreneurship podcast that revolves around hearing the stories and strategies of successful entrepreneurs and e-commerce professionals to uncover scaling secrets that will impact your online store.

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Tanner:
This week on the show, Steve Wiideman joins me to talk about the importance of marketing to users on mobile devices. Marketing to mobile users is more important than ever, especially in the business and consumer space. Plus Steve and I are both SEO geeks, and we talk about how much SEO and digital marketing in general has changed over the years. If you’re actively marketing your business online, this episode is definitely for you.
Welcome to the show, Steve. I’m really excited to have you go ahead and introduce yourself.

Steve:
Thanks Tanner. So my name’s Steve Wiideman. I’ve been in digital marketing about 23 years. Last couple of years, I’ve transitioned from being an SEO strategist specialist to doing more teaching. I’ve been teaching at a couple of colleges here in California at Cal state Fullerton being one of them, San Diego, UC San Diego. And we recently, I just recently launched a textbook for the online courseware solution called Stucid. So I’m really going from being a practitioner of digital marketing, to being more of a teacher, an educator, which has been a really fun journey. And beyond that, I’ve got a team of nine here in LA Morada. We love to help small businesses. We’ve got two restaurant chains that we also support and helping them to appear more prominently in search. And all of us are just really passionate about everything search marketing from, you know, advanced, you know, paid search campaign building to, you know, some really complicated and sometimes super competitive keywords that we go after for some of our clients on the organic side. But that’s kind of us and me in a nutshell.

Tanner:
That was awesome, man. So let’s go back in time a little bit. How did your career get started in visual marketing?

Steve:
You know, I think it happened out of necessity. I had a passion for building websites and these were websites that weren’t getting any traffic to them. And if I wanted to keep these fun freelance clients happy, some of which I just did for free cause they were friends. I had to figure out how to get traffic to their website. This is pre Google. So we were using Yahoo and Alta Vista and Excite and all sorts of old search engines. Nobody uses anymore that eventually became search sites that use Google search. And yeah, I just, I started to learn, I followed some of the pioneers of search, like Danny Sullivan and Aaron Wall and Bruce Clay. And I did the best I could to organize all those things I learned into different categories, which eventually culminated into my first little ebook in 2004 called The Four Layers of the SEO Model.

And I talked about how you use technical and contextual and off page visibility signals to help boost you know, your search rankings. But yeah, so I just, I fell in love with it and eventually I went back to school. I used my college loan money with the VA that I had and got a degree in e-business management. Learned everything from computer networking and setting up web servers to building databases and sequel and mySQL to graphic design and programming. And the project management component of putting all those things together to take a site from concept to launch, to marketing. And so I got that degree and immediately jumped from my day job at IBM right into the digital marketing world. And never looked back.

The passion part definitely is something that has been sort of a prerequisite for me making it this far.

Tanner:
Yeah, that’s really awesome, man. And it’s kind of funny that no one grows up and says that they’re going to be an SEO. Right. Everyone falls into it or everyone discovers it somehow. I’m actually the opposite of that. I went to school for marketing. There’s not a big presence for digital marketing, at least in the program that I went through, but I took a digital marketing class and we learned about SEO for like two weeks. And I was like, ah man, I’m an expert in SEO. I got to start doing this.

So, Steve, what do you think has made you successful throughout the years? I’m sure you’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. You know, what do you think has had an impact there?

Steve:
I think there’s been a few things. I think my passion for what I do, you know, the joy of watching, you know, pages move up in the search results, the joy of watching, you know, revenue increase, you know, source from organic or scaling SEO, you know, like what we’re doing at the restaurant chains and, you know, in a day, you know, seeing a massive spike in online you know, orders. The passion part definitely is something that has been sort of a prerequisite for me making it this far. The other is my ability to adapt to change. And that might be something that was instilled in me in the military. Cause I sure didn’t get it from, you know, living across the street from busy that as a kid. So the changes in how search changes like the algorithm updates, the changes in how your customers or your clients might talk to you or treat you, you know, some clients start to treat you like an employee and you have to remind them, look, I’m a partner, I’m a vendor I’m collaborating with you to help you.

You know, but I’m not an employee by any means, but when you’re nice and you’re giving and you’re helpful some employers just seem to treat you differently. And that’s a big turnoff to a, of smaller agencies who have to deal with, you know, small customers whose budget comes out of their pocket and not out of a corporate budget. So I think the ability to adapt to the, you know the different changes that come with our industry with you know, with demand, I think that’s been a big part of it. So when, when the pandemic hit, I could have said, forget it. We’re going to have to scale back or shut down. We’re done. There’s no demand for SEO right now. What do we do? But my first instinct was, don’t be selfish. What is going on with your team?

What’s going on with the individual people? How are they dealing with this? Are they, they’ve got to be so worried about their jobs and how they’re going to support their kids and their families. So my first immediate priority was what can I get this you know, PPP loan to back us up If clients aren’t able to pay their invoices. Like one of the restaurant chains had to go on pause for a quarter. And then what can I do to make them feel more relaxed and to remove the anxiety? And so I started sending these little care packages and we did this one that was like a wellness kit included a shoulder massager, included Bose headsets, included a year of calm, included a little diffuser that they can put on their desk with essential oils. And then we just started doing these online team-building events and playing games and having fun.

So we, I turned what was going to be this frantic, you know, what am I going to do about my business to, what am I going to do to make sure my team is healthy and happy. And because of that, they all jumped in and put more time and energy. And I realized, oh my God, I’m getting more effort from these folks because they’re locked at home and then not having to do these commutes to work. And they’re just embracing their jobs and spending more time. Our clients are happier than ever. The one client that went on pause for a few months is back in action. Things are going to be okay. But that ability to adapt to the situation and not to panic you know, I think made a big difference.

Back in the early two thousands, we did all sorts of crazy stuff to try to balance what our clients needed and what we had to work with…

Tanner:
Yeah, man, I think that’s an excellent answer because in digital marketing in general, I mean, there’s a lot, you have to adapt to. Digital marketing changes probably on a daily basis. I think you’d agree with that. And then throwing the pandemic in there. And there’s just more and more things that you have to adapt to, but speaking of change, how has SEO or even digital marketing in general changed over the years? Cause you got in right in the very beginning of it.

Steve:
Oh, we used to do all sorts of crazy stuff. We had flash-based websites and the client says, I want to rank for these 300 keywords and I have one URL to work with, the homepage cause everything’s flash, make it happen. And so we do all sorts of crazy things like we’d create these blank pages with JavaScript, redirects and load up like 50 keywords on the page. We would use an H1 tag with a negative margin so that, you know, it wouldn’t appear to the user. But you know, the search engine was still crawl it. We’d have keywords and comment tags, you know, back in the early two thousands, we did all sorts of crazy stuff to try to balance what our clients needed and what we had to work with and what the search engines were looking for back then.

And we’re fortunate because the entire digital marketing landscape has evolved. It’s grown up. It’s now one responsive design, not a mobile view and a desktop view. It’s now, you know, trying to accommodate mobile users and focusing on what our customers intents and needs are and less about what the search engines care about. Because we know if we have a good result, the search engine will recognize that and how users interact with our listings and it’s going to still have that same effect. So I think what’s changed is that there’s more awareness and transparency to what we’re not supposed to be doing. So if you get in trouble for doing something you’re not supposed to be doing, it’s your fault. It’s not the wild wild west of SEO anymore, where you just tried everything that would work because there were no guidelines.

There are guidelines. There are helpful tips and advice. And, you know, Google’s even recently updated some of there link guidelines to make sure that, you know, we’re doing all the right things. And, you know, Jim Rowan said that Jim Rowan’s one of my favorite speakers. He said, you know, you don’t have to do extraordinary things to be successful. You only have to do ordinary things extraordinarily well. And I’ve always followed that. And in SEO, it’s not anything different if we stick to the principles and make sure that our page is the best answer, both from a keyword standpoint, content standpoint, usability standpoint, then our competition. If we ongoingly look for ways to build relationships that culminate into more mentions and organic links to our site, you know, and we look to continuously test and nurture our search appearance so that when somebody does see us, we stand out in the search results in a positive way and get the click when there’s, you know, 10 results to choose from.

If we work on those three things every month and set some KPIs with the team members that run those different departments every year, we should consistently see growth, regardless of what kind of algorithm updates, you know, are happening. And even now, you know, when we look at some of those larger brands, when we usually see like this trend where it’s just kind of this slow trend over time of growth, and now with all the changes that are happening in Google, it’s this crazy fluctuation, right? There’s just a lot of volatility in what’s happening, but the overall trend is still the same. We’re still kind of seeing that pattern, but it’s really interesting watching, you know, when those changes happen, how you know, how it affects day-to-day rank and day to day, you know, traffic. But I would say that’s the biggest thing is now there are best practices.

Now it’s not about set it, forget it. It’s about pouring water and sunlight on every key priority page.

There are plenty of templates and checklists that each department can use to continue to optimize. And I think the biggest trend is not a set it, forget it. You know, I wrote an ebook in 2008 and it was SEO In a Day and it was basically the idea was you could create a website, write up a few pages of content, get some links from directories and launch the site. And in four months it’ll generate traffic and it worked. It did exactly that. It was a set it, forget it, you put it out there. And then, you know, within a few months suddenly you’re starting to get signups and affiliate clicks and links. You’re like, wow, this is pretty cool. I can make a lot of money just building websites and doing SEO. Along comes, you know, the algorithm updates like the Panda and penguin and the pigeon and the, you know, you name it, right.

And then the core updates and algorithm updates like, you know, birds and the new RankBrain extension to handle longer queries. And, now it’s not about set it, forget it. It’s about pouring water and sunlight on every key priority page, you know, to increase the array of keywords that we’re ranking for it to, you know, increase the you know, the visibility of that page and all types of search results, not just a web search, but an image search and video search within all those universal segments that come out in a in a search result page. It’s taking all the media and making that happen so that you get more of that real estate. And I don’t think a lot of marketers think that way. I think they think SEO is as an initiative, we’ll get it done and we’ll move on to something else. And that’s just not the, you know, the nature of it. The nature of it is your competitors aren’t going to rest on their laurels. You’ve got to put time, energy and monitor what changes your competitors are making to their version of the page that you’re trying to rank as well as continuing to test attributes and fields that you feel, you know, your potential audience are looking for. So yeah, completely different world than it was when it was in the, the old wild, wild west of SEO.

I think it’s important to stick to the principles, you know, nurture a strong organic campaign. Stay away from all the tactics and techniques.


Tanner:
Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, I wasn’t around for the, the old days of SEO, but it was very much just manipulating Google to rank high and Google knew that. So that’s why the algorithm updates came and really the algorithm updates just weeded out people that were manipulating the algorithm and rewarded the sites that were actually providing value. And that’s what it’s all about. Too many people think that SEO is about manipulating Google and just, you know, waving your magic wand and ranking on page one. Right.

Steve:
Even if you hid it though, eventually that digital footprint that you created, they’re going to catch onto it. They’re going to figure out that you, you know, that you paid some new private blog network to get links. They’re going to figure out that you know, we’re doing link exchanges or you know, that you were doing some sort of cloaking or something to try it again, They’re going to figure it out. And when they do, if you’ve been dependent on that income, you know, from organic, that could kill your whole business. So, yeah, I agree. I think it’s important to stick to the principles, you know, nurture a strong organic campaign. Stay away from all the tactics and techniques. And don’t read my old 2005 ebook. It’s not relevant anymore, you know?

We looked at all of those different attributes to really understand, how do we create pages that are going to outrank the mom and pop’s.

Tanner:
Yeah. I mean that the SEO landscape has changed dramatically since then. And to make things worse, if you are doing link schemes and cloaking, Googles smart enough to know that you’re doing that right off the bat. So it’s just a bunch of waste of time and effort. But transitioning to local SEO, I know you have a lot of experience with large franchises or multi location businesses. You know, what’s your recommendations in helping those businesses scale their SEO both in Google maps and the regular organic local organic results.

Steve:
Absolutely. I actually just published two papers on this. The first one was in the International Journal of Digital Marketing, where we talked about scaling and that, which is one of the challenges, I think a lot of multi-location and franchises have as you’ve got, you know, a thousand or 4,000 locations like public storage and one small team in charge of all of it. You know, not every location has a dedicated SEO specialist. Instead it’s handled by a corporate office and a corporate marketing team responsible for all of those pages. So you can’t write 4,000 unique pages of copy to get those pages to rank. You’ve got to think of some really creative ways to, you know, to scale. I think that’s the biggest challenge. So in that study, we talk about local pages and we decided, Hey, let’s do some research.

Let’s figure out exactly, you know, what the search engines are looking for and where the competitive advantages are. So we took 300 local pages for larger brands, like your Starbucks of the world, your BJ’s pizza. We included some of our restaurant chains we worked with, and we try to find those common focal points that appeared when we went through page by page, by page, looking at the markup used. Looking at call to actions, looking at the media, the video, the unique pictures, native reviews. We looked at the URL structure of the pages. Is it locations slash state slash city and then the location itself, or is it just forward slash and the location number? You know, we looked at all of those different attributes to really understand how do we create pages that are going to outrank the mom and pop’s, who can sit there and grind all night long to, you know, to get their pages to rank.

The way that we figured out how to do hyperlocal content, one is through native reviews.

And one of the things that was kind of a no brainer that we learned was you have 107% advantage if you can create hyper-local content on your local pages, if you have, if you’re a multilocation brand. And that’s something that the mom and pops have over us is they can get on there and write whatever they want to whenever they want. And we can’t do that for 4,000 locations. So, the way that we figured out how to do hyperlocal content, one is through native reviews. So when somebody does visit the webpage, you ask the question, Hey, have you been to this location before? Would you like to share your experience? And yeah, you’ve got to hire someone to do the moderation, but getting that input and maybe giving them some cues. So as they’re filling out their actual review, like they give their star rating and they fill out the actual review, there’s some help tips.

Talk about whether you use takeout or delivery. Talk about whether, what items you had and what you liked or disliked about them. Talk about the city that you drove from to, you know, to get to this location, because we want to build awareness, you know, in neighboring cities that, Hey, we’re right around the corner. So you give them some help tips on what they can write about in their review. And then when they write the review, that’s user generated content for that specific location. That’s probably the easiest way to scale with hyper-local content and take advantage of that 107% advantage. The second way is a little bit more effort. It’s creating new fields, evergreen fields of things that won’t change. You don’t want to create a field for business next door.

Oh, we’re right next door to Arby’s. We can’t say that because Arby’s might be gone in a year, right. Or it might be the location might move somewhere else and keeping up with all of those changes across thousands of locations, not possible. So the fields you’ll come up with the things like distance from the freeway, nearest major college, right? Landmarks that are nearby and how far. What’s the local baseball or football team. And then you can get creative on how you use that to make it relevant to the user. You know, Hey, if you’re looking to enjoy a dinner special after an Angel’s game and you’re coming from angel stadium, which is only six miles away whatever, right? So you get really creative on how you can apply that language to the page and still make it relevant for the user, as opposed to saying the city was built in 1942, and you know, you come up with something that’s a little bit more you know, relevant to the user based on what you offer.

And then once you’ve got those fields, you send it out in a survey through a Google sheet, or whatever’s easier for you, survey monkey to every facility, owner or manager. And you say, please get this back to us as quickly as you can. The faster you get this back to us, the faster we can help you get more foot traffic to your location. Depending on what organization you’re working with, that could be a very slow, drawn out process because getting somebody to reply to an email when they’re, you know, not even online half the time, because they’re running a restaurant or running a store can be a lot of effort, a lot of followups, that’s the biggest challenge with that. But if you can pull it off, you’ve got enough hyper-local content now to really kick things into gear. So those are some things that we’ve learned. The studies like right on our websites, as SEOs, the first thing we do to try to promote a page is get it in that top nav so that we can show Google as an important page. So it’s the very first thing you see on our website, if you’re interested in the rest of the data that we pulled from doing that research.

Tanner:
Yeah. That’s awesome, man. I’m definitely gonna check that out. Hope anyone listening is interested in SEO enough to go check that out. You know, one thing that I think that has changed a lot over the years is the way that users are not only searching, but really just living their lives right on their phones. Used to be, you’d get on a desktop computer and go to Google and search something. But now everyone’s using their phones, right?

Steve:
Everyone’s used the internet of things now it’s not even just phones anymore. True.

How we improve our experience for mobile users is first getting to a place where the user can get through an experience with one hand and just using their thumb.

Tanner:
But how much of an impact has that had on how we market to our customers?

Steve:
Of course, I think depending on your industry, it’s imperative. We do have some B2B clients we work with where 60, 70% of their traffic is still desktop. You know if you’re targeting chiropractor offices, for example, when you’re selling medical equipment, it’s not very often that the front desk person gets on their phone to look for medical equipment. They’re on their desktop. You know, we’ve got a consultancy we support that does some healthcare work with healthcare. Those hospitals, you know, generally aren’t getting on their phones to look for support, you know, for anything related to you know, healthcare finance or you know, healthcare procurement work, for example. So, but in the B2C area I would say you’re going to see between 70 to 90% of your traffic coming from mobile devices. For the restaurant chains, 84% of the visits come from mobile.

So to ignore mobile, you know, is to say, I don’t want to show up in search results. So I think since Google switched to mobile indexing, you know, they’ve given us plenty of time to work on it. They’ve given us plenty of documentation to use. They’ve told us, work on a responsive design. Don’t have two separate websites for mobile and desktop. They’ve taught us about tap targets and auto-fill form fields. You know, all of that’s available in the Google developer documentation. Just go to the Google developer docs and do a quick search for mobile and you’ll find hundreds of supportive pages to help. Now the way that we’ve been trying to teach our clients. You know, as far as how we improve our experience for mobile users is first getting to a place where the user can get through an experience with one hand and just using their thumb.

And we’ve all done this when we’ve gone to Instagram, where you click an ad, you know, and it’s set up with the shop app because of using Shopify or something, or a one-click Amazon or a GPay or apple pay. You can get through an experience without having to fill out a form without having to put in a lot of extra information. You can simply tap your way through an experience that’s number one. Number two is starting to think a little more longterm. 2022, 2023 we’re going to see people start to make purchases with voice search, Hasn’t happened yet. I know some people are using their Alexa device at home and they’re ordering from Amazon, but they’re not really making purchases yet from the Google assistant, but they can, it’s possible. They’re just not doing it yet. So we want to start thinking about, you know, the three ways that we address search. One by swapping out the mobile search icon in our search field, on our device to a microphone so that people can use the Google voice API and immediately, you know, use their voice to input what they’re searching for on the site. Two, they want to make sure that they’re thinking about that upper funnel content to introduce themselves for how to, where to, why to ideas, tips, strategies, recipes, those types of search terms that people are using when they’re in that early phase of the buyer’s journey.

And we want to get that short summary at the top of our page. We want maybe even a copy to clipboard icon next to it, to encourage people to share it. So that short answer becomes a featured answer in position zero above the other 10 search results. And we can use that to, you know, to help build links to our site for people who are going to reference that type of content. We can use it to get people to our website that we can remarket to when they’re in the phase of wanting to purchase. So I think that’s number two. Number three is going to be getting into that Google action console and getting into the Alexa skills and really trying to figure out how they can introduce themselves to users who are starting to become acclimated to invoking Alexa and invoking Google assistant and invoking Cortana and Siri.

If you really want to get ahead of the game, start experimenting and testing with what you can do in voice search.

So I would say mobile is priority number one, but if you really want to get ahead of the game, start experimenting and testing with what you can do in voice search and maybe shift some of your advertising to encourage voice search so that they interact directly with you sort of the same way they would with a native app. Instead of having to go to you know, the search results, they can use that in vocation and immediately pull up the app that you have set up in there and never even see a competitor. So, start thinking about voice search, if you’re, you know, already in that phase of getting mobile squared away, start getting that on the old timeline for 2022.

Tanner:
You know, it’s kind of crazy to think what the future holds with marketing. And I agree with you. I think voice is definitely going to be a big part of it. Are you going to say something?

Steve:
Nope. I said, nobody knows you’re right. Nobody knows what’s going to come. We’re just making guesses and drawing inferences from the changes in technology, right?

Longterm you know, we know that desktop user experience is going to be what dictates rent, detects ranking.

Tanner:
Yeah, exactly. And I liked that you mentioned the disparity between B2B and B2C because it does make a big difference. For example, I know that my traffic is 75% desktop and that’s because I serve businesses, right. All of our B2C clients are, you know, 80 to 90% mobile. And of course it also depends on what channels you’re marketing on. If you’re showing ads on Facebook and Instagram, it’s going to be any, probably 99% mobile. And I see it all the time, a lot of businesses just aren’t putting in the effort to make the mobile version of their site, just as good as the desktop. And a lot of people are saying nowadays that you should be focusing on the mobile version of your site before the desktop version. What do you think of that?

Steve:
Yeah, it’s give and take. I’ve been a big believer in trying to get the mobile versions. The first question I ask when I get a comp back from a designer say, this desktop looks great, but most of our clients are mobile. Can I get the mobile view? And they’re like, oh, we’re just going to collapse it into, you know, a linear view for mobile. And I’m like, well, I don’t think you understand top of page mobile is extremely important right now between, you know, these new core web vitals that Google’s introduced to you know, to what users need and can get to right away on that mobile experience. Do we have that CTA, you know, that call to action really kind of front and center at the top and when they start scrolling, if we can get them to scroll, does that CTA become a sticky button at the bottom?

So that the call to action is always, you know, omnipresent. They don’t have to keep flicking their finger around to try to find it. So, yeah, I think that idea of, you know, mobile first is paramount really for search engines. For sites that, you know, are predominantly desktop users, I think it’s important still for crawlability and index ability, but longterm you know, we know that desktop user experience is going to be what dictates ranking. So I think getting a squared away on mobile for the search engines but focusing on our desktop for those B2B situations you know, is still going to be just as important as mobile. But yeah, I’m in agreement. If you can do mobile first, that’s the way to go. But you kind of have to have both, you can’t launch a site with one or the other, but I can tell you every time I get a Com back, it’s always desktop first. And my first question is always, can I please see the mobile view?

Don’t give them too many options. One or two is fine.

Tanner:
Yeah, absolutely. And I think you’ve touched on this a little bit earlier, but thumb reach. Someone’s ability to reach and click a button with their thumb if their phone is in one hand and of course phones are getting bigger and bigger. It’s becoming more and more important. What advice do you have for that? Do you prefer to put buttons towards the center or the right side of the page on mobile, or…?

Steve:
You see a lot of data where people are saying, get that CTA in the center. And I think that might work for some of your paid search landing page tests and email marketing. But I think from an organic standpoint, people are going to scroll or organic users are researching. They want to read, they want to see some things. They want to watch a video. So with one of our restaurant chains, they had a directions button on the bottom and when the pandemic hit, I said, nobody’s looking for directions. Let’s get a start order button on our local pages so that, you know, those people who do hit this page, regardless of where they are on the page, regardless of where Google passages updates take them, regardless of, you know, where the, you know, the search engine is going to drop them on the page and highlight text, let’s make sure our call to action is always omnipresent.

And for me, it’s that bottom you know, bottom right-hand corner for most right-handed people that bottom right-hand corner having that order now, or if you’re, you know, lead generation, maybe call now with a chat next to it. Having those options right there at the bottom has been huge with the restaurant chain. We got an email the Monday after saying, you know, Hey, Steve, we sell a $2 million weekend what happened? What did we do? And I’m like, it was a button. We just added a button. So anyway, so yeah, I agree. I think keeping it within thumb’s reach for most right-handed users, not that we don’t love left-handed users, but you know, since the majority of users are right-handed getting that you know, where the user can click it, not having too many options, don’t make people think, Hey, there’s four buttons.

Do I want to do this, this, this, or this? Right? Don’t give them too many options. One or two is fine. So that means that if you do have that call to action above the fold in the middle of the page, you don’t need the sticky button on the bottom until they start scrolling. Otherwise they’re gonna have three buttons to look at, and that’s not a good user experience. If I have to think then I’m going to go beyond that two seconds deciding if I’m going to stay here or not moment. And I’m probably going to go back and choose a competing result. But if I don’t have to think, cause I know exactly what I should do when I hit the page, then I’m more likely to convert.

We really almost perform an industry study with every project that we get to fully understand the potential for that particular industry.

Tanner:
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s a really good point. So, Steve, what would you say your secrets of scale are?

Steve:
So secrets to scale is taking the time to do the research. A lot of what we do for our clients you know, we’re doing to try to help them to improve ranking, but it ends up being more of an industry study. You know, for our law firms that we work with, for example, we took the top 100 law firms in the country and we looked at what keywords those law firms were appearing for in aggregate and running some pivot tables to understand frequencies. We took all the links that the top 100 law firms in the industry that we’re earning links from to understand what were the common links that those sites are getting links from. Is it lawyers.com, Avvo, Justia? You know, so we really almost perform an industry study with every project that we get to fully understand the potential for that particular industry.

So I think the secret to scale is not to take those top three or four direct competitors that your client says that they want to compete against, but take the industry and figure out from an industry standpoint, where are the most important links going to come from? What are the most important words that, you know, the industry are getting their traffic from and then building your site structure and information architecture around that. Building your outreach strategy around, you know, where the most prominent links are going to come from? I think that’s the secret to scaling is just taking the time to do that extra research. And I know some of these clients are difficult. They don’t want to pay you to do audits and research. They just want to pay you to do SEO. Just do it.

Don’t do all this research stuff, just do it. And those are the clients you want to walk away from. Those are the clients that are going to be toxic and work against you. If they’re strategic and they’re willing to give you the time to do that research, you’re probably never going to have to do it again. You’re going to find tune and taper things based on the data from search console and your search query report and ads, your placement report, and ads, you’re going to fine tune things based on marrying that data. But for the most part, if you do that grunt work first, you take the first two or three months and you just do that exhaustive research. You’re going to build out a roadmap that’s going to last that client five to 10 years.

Tanner:
Yeah. And that’s a really good point. And you know, SEO is a hard thing. Of course, SEO will definitely help your business scale, but you know, you have to execute it in the right way. You can’t just throw pasta at the wall and hope something sticks. Right.

Steve:
Okay. Just to make it right. I want to be number one tomorrow.

Tanner:
So Steve, I really want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Is there anything that I have not asked you that you think might benefit the audience?

Steve:
You know I think the educational component, as I mentioned. I’m trying to, to see how good I really am at this whole teaching thing. So we did create this cool little course that mimics what I teach at Cal state Fullerton. We threw it up on the site called academy of search. If you’d like to give any of your listeners free access to that, just have them use code SEOSteve one word S E O and then my name. And again, it’s like a $600 course, same structure of what I teach at the Cal state, but I’d love to get feedback and see how I can improve it, how I can make it better. All our templates are in there. The same audits and strategies we do for our clients are downloadable. So if you want to give that away as a educational resource, I only thing I asked is just give me some feedback on what you’d like to see improved.

Tanner:
Yeah, absolutely. Anyone listening, definitely check that out. Steve knows his stuff. I will definitely link that up in the show notes as well. So Steve, what’s a great way to get in contact with you.

Steve:
I’m easy to find. I’m handle SEOSteve, everywhere. If you want to chat with me and the team, you know, just use the handle Wiideman, W I I D E M A N and we’re everywhere. We’re on Insta and Facebook and all the places. So feel free. If you want to throw some questions out or say, Hey, Wiideman guys, why is this page not ranking? You know, we love challenges. So bring it on. We’re happy to help for free.

Tanner:
That’s awesome. Thanks again, Steve.

Steve:
You got it thanks for your time Tanner. We’ll talk soon.

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