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Office Hours: Agency Growth w/ Skyler Reeves

how to grow your agency

Ane Krstevska

Strategic thinker with strong analytical and creative problem-solving skills. I partner with companies, CEOs, executives, and entrepreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands, human-to-human 💯 A daydreamer and a night thinker. Creator. Traveler. Coffee drinker. An unstoppable optimist who will help you become the person you want to be.

2nd October 2020

1 Comments

Timestamps:

  • 0:22 What have you been seeing or doing differently during these COVID times that have been helping you out?
  • 2:37 Are you guys niche specific? Or do you just do General SEO? Do you have a pocket of industry or niche types that you’ve been working well with?
  • 8:03 What do you use for outreach?
  • 10:11 About your SEO Audits. Do you do website quality audits or more than that?
  • 12:04 I get a lot of prospects asking when we will be on page one. I always inform them that no good SEO can guarantee results like that. But, do you have any tips to answer that type of question in a way that still protects me from making false promises but also conveys confidence and competency to the client?
  • 17:14 What do you think about tier 2 links? (Specifically using PBNs) and are there any PBN services that you recommend that are affordable?
  • 20:25 Any tips on creating original research, articles with stats analysis? Mainly for building original content and generating quality links. 
  • 25:05 You mentioned tire kickers and identified the buyer persona. What are you doing to find your buyer personas and when do you find what’s your process for getting them to purchase your tripwire?
  • 28:07 Is there an industry that you guys notice in particular which gives significantly more red flags?
  • 30:03 What about creating free tools? Where can I find people to outsource that kind of development work?
  • 33:25 What programming languages, if any, are a must to dominate or at the very least survive the future SEO space?

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0:22 What have you been seeing or doing differently during these COVID times that have been helping you out?

Leveraging our existing network of clients. We were looking enough up to this point to where we had a couple of new clients that were opening new locations even during COVID because things were going so well for them. So we used that as an opportunity to approach them and say “Hey if you happen to know other folks like yourself who are looking to take a step forward right instead of just staying stagnant, let them know about us.”

Sometimes getting your clients from your existing regular clients is one of the best sources of new deals. It makes closing a lot faster since they already know the expectations.

2:37 Are you guys niche specific? Or do you just do General SEO? Do you have a pocket of industry or niche types that you’ve been working well with?

We’ve been figuring that out. I got lucky enough to find the blueprint right as I came into this from the corporate world. It really helps us accelerate. We’ve spent a little over a year trying to figure out exactly who we want to work with.

We found that service-based businesses that are looking to grow and expand their operations tend to work well with us. They got to have revenue and ambition.

We never worked with SaaS. I know it’s something that you and a lot of other people have been working with since it has a lot of opportunities in it. We just haven’t really explored it.

8:03 What do you use for outreach?

We use NOBS and Loganix. We’re also trying to use another Vendor for PR, but I’ll need to see how that goes. I’ll let you guys know if it goes well.

Something else that we’ve done that we found pretty helpful is taking a different approach to local SEO than a lot of people do. We don’t really focus on the map pack all that much. We optimize for organic and we just found ourselves ranking on the map pack. It’s almost like a correlation effect.

We’ll target national terms, to rank our local clients and make them a national authority on their niche to some extent. We’re not going to a wide breadth like we usually do for a SaaS campaign or any major company. But if we can pick a couple of keywords that we think we can rank for nationally, they become the de facto authority locally by default.

We can use content assets like that to build links pretty effectively if we want to do our own outreach. We’ve also been working on a few data studies because if you can get a few local links from your local media, they make a pretty big impact on a local level.

On top of that, we’ve also been working with other local businesses because they got a lot of connections within their own community. We’ll basically have them leave a testimonial on their site to recommend our clients and It will link other potential clients back to us.

10:11 About your SEO Audits. Do you do website quality audits or more than that?

We do the website quality audit, keyword research, and target pages.

We’ve got both website quality audit keyword research and target pages collapsed into one file now. It’s a minor increase in the amount of time that it takes you to do something that adds up over the long term.

So, as we’re feeding data into the WQA, we also added a couple of little things like content audit and canonization checker that will check that for us as we’re feeding that data in. This will automatically flag those as URL actions that we just review and speed up the process.

We also got some formula set to pre-assign our actions beforehand and we just need to review them. Most small businesses usually have less than 200 pages on their websites and this will allow us to finish both website quality audit keyword research and target pages for our clients in less than a day and a half. For this, we charge them around $3,500-$5,000 depending on the businesses. We haven’t explored dropping that price a little bit to bring in more people as a tripwire. But, it might be an interesting option for us to try. We still have a really good margin on that.

12:04 I get a lot of prospects asking when we will be on page one. I always inform them that no good SEO can guarantee results like that. But, do you have any tips to answer that type of question in a way that still protects me from making false promises but also conveys confidence and competency to the potential clients?

We usually can figure it out quickly if our potential client will be the page-one type when it comes to keywords. We try to educate them from the very beginning to let them know that we primarily track two KPIs: assisted conversion becomes more organic and total organic traffic increases over time.

Because the keywords are so much more topical these days, working with people who are just focused on keywords is like fighting a losing battle. This is why you have to educate them from the beginning. That’s being said, they’re still going to care about that sort of stuff.

So, what I would recommend is to make your client understand. Just like a financial advisor who can’t always guarantee your return investment in the stock market, you can’t also guarantee the result of the SEO. People can’t control the condition in the market just like people can’t control google’s algorithm and the things that the competitions are doing.

17:14 What do you think about tier 2 links? (specifically using PBNs) and are there any PBN services that you recommend that are affordable?

We don’t do it.

I come from a science background, so I like to do things that are somewhat in my control as much as possible. We focus a lot more On-page because that is something that we can control (things like content and On-page UX). We’ve seen time and time again where we’ve been able to outrank significantly higher DR sites with just On-page and good content.

20:25 Any tips on creating original research articles with stats analysis? Mainly for building original content and generating quality links.

You need to have someone available who can work the numbers and collect the data at scale without causing a major cost sink. If you do original research, you can build 10x links to it most of the time. They’re easy to build and they’ll keep growing over time. There’re a lot of free data sources that you can use.

Also, you don’t have to make the most industry landmark study. What’s most important is that you’re able to tell a story about it. If you just have the data, it’s very hard to pitch it to the media because journalists only want to write a story that someone actually wants to read.

So, before you collect the data, ask yourself what’s a common belief that everyone adheres to but you might be able to prove them wrong with the number. Also, ask yourself who your audience is. How are they going to benefit from the research? What are the things that they care about?

Form your story beforehand and then go get the data.

As far as outreach goes, don’t try to do mass outreach at scale. It does not work on high DR sites as effectively. I would personally focus on building relationships with the people that you want to connect with the most within the industry. Find out information about them and start cultivating relationships with them. Maybe add them on social media and try to talk to them to warm them up beforehand.

Then, if you connect with somebody who can contribute to your survey or data study, you can show it to them and see if you can get their input on it. If you add that input to the piece, that will give you a little bit of extra authority. Whenever you get to publish it, they’re more likely to share it. That’s going to amplify it and get you more results compared to if you do outreach on your own.

25:05 You mentioned tire kickers and identified buyer personas. What are you doing to find your buyer personas and when do you find what’s your process for getting them to purchase your tripwire?

So, the tire kickers that I mentioned are finding us. Those are all inbound leads. If you are doing outbound prospecting, you probably shouldn’t be having the tire kicker problem. The problems that you will probably have is building a certain level of interest with them to want to answer emails or to want you to jump on a phone call.

If you are dealing with that from an inbound standpoint, you can put a minimum method of engagement somewhere on your site. You can filter out a lot of people that way. If you are getting this through inbound and you’re smaller (maybe you’re just starting out or you are trying to take every lead you can) you can still try to ask your client to leave a review somewhere and this will help you close other clients in the future.

If you’re dealing with it on your outbound side of things, you’re doing outbound wrong. You need to dial in who you’re targeting a lot better.

28:07 Is there an Industry that you guys notice in particular which gives significantly more red flags?

For the most part, It’s local SEO.

That’s why we’re very particular about who we work with. Sometimes, it’s less about the industry and more about the psychographics of the person. You need to quickly figure it out when you’re talking to your potential client. Listen to the words that they say that are going to be red flags for you. We’ve found that there are great clients in different kinds of industries, and they’re awesome to work with. It has less to do with the industry and more to do with the person.

When we say that local SEO gives more red flags, it’s just a generalization. There are a lot of people making a lot more money than I did in local SEO. Just, generally speaking, there’s a reason that there are no local modules. Local businesses tend to not have as much of a budget to work with, and lack of budget tends to come with a lack of understanding. Another generalization, but it’s generally true.

30:03 What about creating free tools? Where can I find people to outsource that kind of development work?

I would say outsourcing that type of work is kind of tough. That is a more advanced marketing tactic, and I think you should wait until you can pay the right person to do it. When I was first running Webris, I tried to do something similar. I tried to build these assets for PR purposes, and we just weren’t ready because we didn’t have the right person to think through the strategy.

If you’re going to go that route, you’re going to spend a lot of money on something that might just fall on its face. There’re plenty of ways to get links, I don’t think you need to go that far to do that. Outreach still works to get links if you’re just trying to build authority.

I would say that If you want to create free tools, you shouldn’t be doing it for links. It should be for clients. It should be something that you can use to impress the type of prospects that you want to work with.

You need at least 10 – 20 grand to get something solid done, probably more. David built those types of stuff for our clients all the time (like in the Coding Is For Losers Programs), and we don’t charge them that much for it. Something simple like spreadsheets and data studio reports. They are actually a lot more usable and better for opt-in and link bait depending on the space that you’re in.

33:25 What programming languages, if any, are a must to dominate or at the very least survive the future SEO space?

I actually have a survey that’s going to get out soon, where I’m asking this very question. I have my own opinion on this. I think people are a little too in love with Python. In my opinion, if you have to pick one programming language to learn, it would be Javascript.

Javascript can be used for everything. From websites built on ReactJS where you can solve issues with the DOM and how google might be crawling it and indexing that information. You can also use it to do some of the stuff that you can see in the templates that we have in the Blueprint. If you know Javascript, you can go to the backend of google sheets and add some functionalities by writing the code yourself. It’s a very versatile language. If not Javascript, then learn SQL. Learn how to manipulate data. Those two should be the main ones.

COMMENTS (1)

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  • Daniel Chegesays

    Thanks Ryan for sharing great tips that I can use to expand my website design company. Keep up the good work.