In the session, our host, Coach Yu, asks the audience: Is SEO dead? Is SEO a scam? Or should we be paying close attention to it?
“Unless you reach out, build links, and create content that becomes link-worthy, I’d argue that SEO is a scam.”
What they don’t tell you
Coach Yu argues that SEO doesn’t exist without you, the content provider. Without your content and engagement, there is no traffic. Why? Because you’re the one trying to communicate and connect, you are the one targeting a specific audience, meaning you need to put in the work for the right people to read, listen to, or interact with your content.
The best way to determine whether SEO works as a stand-alone tool is to look at your stats. Is your data showing the results your’re trying to achieve? Is the SEO algorithm creating and driving the traffic you expect?
SEO is not what you do; SEO is the result [of what you do.]Coach Yu
Coach Yu has a magnitude of experience with SEO and realized that his in-depth and eye-catching content did all the work. Coach Yu recalls a past experience and said that the content he produced was ‘shared’ by other people because they thought, ‘Wow! This is really good. I’m willing to share it.’, not because of the SEO tool. What the SEO tool is doing, is putting it in their feeds and reaching those who are probably interested in what your content is saying.
Along with generating great content, you need to establish great relationships for people to believe in you and be willing to share your content, not just read it. How can you do this? Reach out to people, build friendships by engaging and interacting with them, and sharing content posted by other people in your field and community as well.
To hear more from the session, hit the play button above!
- TRANSCRIPT: Coach Yu- Episode 28
TRANSCRIPT: Coach Yu- Episode 28
Hello? Hello? Hello. Hello. Welcome to the coach. You show. If you’re listening to the replay show, we’ll be getting started in just a moment as people arrive and coach you himself joins us as our host of the coach. You show tonight, we’re going to be talking about is S E O dead. That’s a good question. Is SEO debt we’ll find out soon, or at least we’ll find out what Dennis things welcome.
Everyone. Welcome to the coach you show. We’ll be getting started in just a minute. As everyone begins to arrive and hear coach,
Hey, how are you? A distributing greetings from salt lake city. I don’t know how to, you know how to piss off people that do SEO. Wow. Tell them that SEO is. Or STO is a scam or is it SEO is dead long live SEO. How’s that? Yeah. Well, I’m glad you guys are here for another episode of the coach. You show a lot of you guys.
I want to hear your participation. I want to hear what your questions are. I want to, I want you guys to come up and argue, and I take the view of the search engine. Cause I built the analytics of the search and my buddy Darwin Metzker is here. What a pro and Corey is here. He’s a YouTube expert among other things, but I built the internal analytics at Yahoo 20 some years ago.
And I’ve seen so many people come in and try to tell me their secret about SEO. And I’ll tell them, you know, my job is to bust people like you, that the search engine is defined all the tricks that you have, and we have teams. That will spot your triangular linking or private link networks or minus 100, you know, hiding things or a cloaking or all the different sorts of things.
So I want you guys in just a minute to raise your hand and come up and share whatever question you have or thought you have, or maybe you want to challenge any of our ex I see. They’re just some experts here, but SEO. So Jeff, did you start everyone off yet?
Well, can you guys hear me? All right. Can you hear me Jeffrey? I think you’re on mute.
Hey, let’s do this just to test whether this is not to ask questions or to participate, but just to get a sense of where you guys are. Can you hit the hand raise button? You your, you think SEO is a scam. Go ahead and hit, hit that button. I want to, I want to see what you guys think. I’m not going to call on you.
I just want to see what you guys think. Let’s see how many people, how many people think that,
because I think we’ll find that we’re going to redefine SEO in a way that a lot of folks haven’t really thought of before.
Get a few you guys. All right. But what happens in, in our show here is that I’ll start off with an opening statement and then I want you guys, I hear you, Dennis. My iPhone locked up, sorry. Okay.
I would like to get some sparks here. I want to get some, some people challenging us. So I’m going to do our little opening statement and think about what. What statement you want to make, or if you want to argue a little bit, I welcome it all. You know, you’ve gotta be polite, but I’d love people to be honest about where they are.
All right. So it was about 10 years ago and oh, Michael Sanchez is here. Look at that 10 years ago, we did the digital marketing for Quiznos, which is like the competitor to subway. And there was one guy in there and I won’t give you his name because I’ve always, already, already embarrassed him to quite some degree.
And he was charging Quiznos, some ridiculous amount of money for SEO and bill who’s. The COO is a good buddy of mine. He said, Dennis, this guy is charging us for all this SEO. And all he does is produce this report every month. And even then every week he has a report and it shows how many first page rankings we have, you know, how many in the first hundred positions to clearly it came out of some tool that just put his name on it.
His name is Jim. I won’t tell you his last name. And I think that he’s not really doing anything. Cause every time I asked him what’s up, he says, oh, well, It’s proprietary and Google changes the rules all the time and whatnot. And I said, okay, well, show me what the value is of what you’re doing. Show me that more people that were getting more local search results to people searching in the local three pack, right?
For Quiznos or show me we’re driving more sales. Show me we’re getting more employees. Show me we’re driving more traffic because of our SEO, because our, our view of SEO is that, you know, first you have to rank on the keyword. Then the keyword has to drive traffic and the traffic has to then turn into some kind of conversion.
And certainly SEO can drive to email or be blended together with social and other sorts of channels like TV and, uh, you know, the billboards we had and all this kind of stuff. And he couldn’t do it. All he said was it was a, it was all this big secret. And he wouldn’t of course, want to divulge what his secrets were in SEO.
And I said, go ahead, try me. I worked at a search engine. Did you? I’ve heard this, I’ve heard this scam. Thousands of. So long story short, this guy got kicked out of Quiznos. He ran the Denver SEO group. Tuesday had a community of hundreds of people that followed him through SEO, and he had a community of all these people to do SEO.
One time I was speaking at a conference, which was by this company that used to be called SEO Moz. And I think they’re called MAs. Now Rand Fishkin is a buddy of mine. Gillian was the co-founder who’s Rand’s mom. And they acquired another company that was well-known in the space that did SEO. They did, they were well known in terms of like speaking about SEO, they invest PowerPoints.
They kept up to date on all the different Google updates and they got a client that came to us because we had to come in and run Google ads. And this client, you know, I got to look at the analytics and I said, well, you guys aren’t getting any organic traffic. What, what the heck’s going on? The only traffic we’re getting is the leads we have off of our Google ads.
And I’m not saying like, you know, PPC is better than SEO, obviously there’s, you know, it’s like renting versus buying. And we audited this company, which was part of SEO, Moz, a well-respected company. You can probably figure out who it is if you do enough looking. And it turns out all they did was tell the client, Hey, you need to produce content.
Basically, coach them use their same presentations they gave and try to tell the client about that, which works if you’re doing it for a huge enterprise company where they have SEO departments and you can get away with, you know, basically having long meetings, just discussing stuff. Instead of driving sales for the small business.
Last week, I was on a call I’m on the advisory board for SEMrush. SEMrush is one of the top two. For SEO and PPC. And we had the head of SEO for Spotify, the head of SEO for three or four of these other big companies. We were talking about what we wanted to do for improvements in this SEMrush tool. And you could use HRS or majestic or whatever your favorite tools are, you know, Google search console, which is the original one by Google.
And we agreed that SEO was about content production. I mean, of course, certainly as analytics and running reports and all that kind of stuff that the tools do, but unless you reach out and you are able to build links, unless you create content that then becomes link worthy. I would argue that SEO is a scam because SEO is what you is not what you do.
Like what you do is content. What you do is make videos. What you do is run ads. What you do is reach out and build relationships that you do is, you know, take care of customers, collect feedback, and build websites. Those are the things that you do and the results. Of SEO, PR SEO, digital. What are the result of all of these things is that you rank better in search engines.
So I would argue any of you guys that are really good at PPC or whatever you are good at social media go to good at taking care of your customers. You’re driving SEO because it’s driving more reviews, more people are talking about you, you get more referrals, you can boost those posts and more people see it, which drives more referrals or improve your landing pages.
Or you get quoted in the media because you did something important or you have know feedback on something. And I would argue that the result of that is you get more search engine traffic, but SEO is not what you do. SEO is the result. And people who think that SEO is something that you do, even though there’s all these tools and there’s technical SEO and making the site load faster and Google amp and canonical stuff, I would, you know, there’s all that kind of stuff on categorizing data.
I would argue that SEO is a scam for 99% of people doing it. They don’t think they’re scammers. Because they’re using these tools, they’re following these other people who are well-known, they’re all friends of mine. The people were well-known in the world of SEO. Like, you know, it could be like bill hunter, Bruce Clay, or these other folks who invented the term search engine optimization.
They’re buddies of mine that most people, they don’t actually do it. There is no SEO for them. It’s just something it’s paying for consulting. And maybe they do content marketing. Maybe they build things. Maybe they get placements, which is PR. Right. But I would argue that most people that think they’re doing SEO are not doing SEO.
So I’ll leave it at that. I’d love to hear. What do you guys think? Hit, hit the hand, raised button in the bottom and let’s talk about this.
So Dennis, while, while people are raising their hands, uh, I’ll ask a question. Um, but obviously there, there is levels to this, right? Because there’s some basic. Things that are just best practices for having a website, you know, having the metadata, correct. You know, you know, certain organizational things that you should do properly to give your website the best chance of being indexed and of being found.
And then on top of that, the what’s really gonna move the needle is really what you’re talking about. It’s having that content. That’s going to create the links back to the site. That’s going to drive real organic traffic based on content, based on relevance, et cetera. Right? So there’s several levels here.
Aren’t there. Sure. There are. And the basic level, assuming your websites, WordPress, which is 25% of the internet, the plugins already handle that. The way that stuff is linked together and site maps and integration with search console and tag mass manager, passing data back and forth. Those are all part of being a good website.
Because before there were the big SEO conferences, there was webmaster world. I think some of the people here in this audience remember what master world, which was built by Brett Tapco. We just had our 20th anniversary and I was there in Vegas just a few months ago, all the original webmaster people, right?
I’m one of the old timers, believe it or not, I’m 47, right? I was there back in my day, but it’s about building websites. So if you’re not technical enough to build websites, and this is something that happened 20 years ago, we were all building websites and people who didn’t know how to write HTML and even the Rand Fishkin of the world and, you know, will, and all these other folks will agree that if you don’t know how to mess with basic HTML or don’t understand the structure of how websites work.
And I don’t mean installing plugins on WordPress, I mean, actually understand the fundamentals of the web. You can’t do SEO. So you’re right at the basic level. Sure. You have to be able to construct a website that loads fast and can be seen by the search engines and is categorized properly and all this.
But I don’t really see, I mean, you can call that SEO, but I think it’s really part of building up a website that works properly, that Google via their lighthouse tools or, you know, developer pay speed insights and the different tools they have says, Hey, this is good. It’s got good content, which is, I think most important part of all of these people that, you know, claim SEO, you have to have subject matter expertise in that area.
I have a friend I met with him yesterday and he owns it, uh, an emergency preparedness company. So you’ve got all this, all these like vegetables and fruits and things that are all just freeze dried that last 25 years in these cans. And this guy knows all about emergency preparedness. Like if you know, a bomb happens, we lose water.
He knows all about that. Could I help him with SEO? Not really because I don’t have enough expertise. I didn’t know, for example, that Mylar bags decompose after five to seven years. And that’s why you have to have these other sorts of. I didn’t know that emergency prep versus doomsday, preppers are completely different people.
And the key audience is 50 plus males, and they’re not even necessarily LDS, but they just want to prepare. And in case there’s a problem, you know, in the basement they have, you know, year and a half of a food supply. I didn’t know things like that. So if I want to get him more traffic from search engines, I have to be able to create content that other people that are in the emergency prep space actually say that’s credible content.
So that’s really how you would drive search engine optimization, traffic. So beyond the basic build a website stuff that requires expertise in that area. So even if you claim to be a pro at SEO, there could be all of these different areas of subject X, you know, basketball, or how do you buy a first class ticket for cheap or like whatever the topic is.
You have to be an expert in that topic. I challenge anybody on whether that’s challenged me, whether that’s not true. Yeah. So you’re saying, you know, the, the basic plumbing or infrastructure of a website, anyone who knows how that should be done can do that part of the so-called SEO piece, but to really optimize for a particular website, you have to have domain expertise in whatever vertical or content subject matter that website is focused on, or else you can only do the plumbing.
You really can’t do the big stuff. That’s right. Digital plumbing is about building websites. It’s not an SEO thing. You know, calling it SEO is a way to charge way more money for it. I’ll give you an example. So when Facebook ads first came out in may of 2007, I was one of the first people in the platform.
I was in the right place at the right time. And I made a lot of Facebook ads and I was just literally, I didn’t sleep for days. I’d sleep a couple hours. I was just so excited about making Facebook ads and all the cool things that you could do with the targeting, which has been ripped away from. And I got quoted in the media and I built some campaigns.
So our buddy Darwin Metzker who’s right below me, knows that we did some really killer campaigns and we spoke about ’em and I was just really, really into all the geeky things on Facebook ads. And if you did a search on Google for Facebook advertising, the number two result was me. And the number one result was facebook.com/ads.
So clearly I’m not going to displace Facebook on ranking on Facebook ads, Facebook advertising, how to set up Facebook ads. But I was ranking number two on a very competitive search term. Let me ask you Jeffrey and everyone else here. Do you think I did any SEO to rank number two on the keyword Facebook advertising?
No. You just did all the content. Well then what if I, but do you think I would do better if I hired somebody to do SEO for me to get me more leads and more exposure and more clients for my. No, not at that point. Uh, you had already established yourself as a subject matter expert in that was driving, uh, that was driving your SEO.
Yeah. And it was having expertise because I produced content that other people thought, wow, this is really good. I’m willing to share it. In fact, I’m willing to link to it from my block and the media will link to it. And the media will interview me and other people will see me on the LA times as Darwin remembers.
Right. We spoke at w not ad world expo. It was that big one in blog world. Right. I spoke at that one in LA and I met Darwin and I was at the Utah DMC where Corey here, he’s on the, like right underneath your face, Jeffrey, you spoke there. And more people linked to me because I produce good content. I actually knew what I was doing.
At least I thought, and I built some good relationships and I hung out with these people, made friends with them and I had dinner last night with J Wilcox. Right? Who’s the LinkedIn ads. And we did a webinar together, which of course he links to me and I linked to him. And so the net result of building relationships and creating content, that’s actually helpful causes these people to link to me.
Of course, I linked to them too. So I would argue, okay, if you agree that the biggest power in SEO is generating links, then how are you going to generate links? If you don’t have good relationships and you don’t create expert level content, can you just hire someone from some random country to write or even using, you know, Jasper, which is the name of Jarvis to generate this stuff, you can’t fake the relationships.
Right? I challenge anyone here. They’ll say, oh, but there’s a lot of technical SEO and stuff related to the website. Yeah, that’s true. But 80, 90% of the power comes from generating links. And that requires somebody believes in you. They know you, they see your expertise and they’re willing to link to you from the New York.
From their association website from like wherever it is and other people counter and say, yo, I’ve been able to do it without knowing anybody. Cause I just buy a bunch of links and you here’s some really cool link farms. And here’s some places that generate a bunch of fake content that we just link between and put into a link laundering layer.
And from the link laundering layer, we push up to these other sites. I look, I know a bunch of folks in porn and who wants to link to a porn site. So then they create these other sites of people link to, and those sites in the link laundering layer point to the porn site, I get it. But if you want to do stuff for real, a group can tell when it’s a crappy link, just like SEMrush has this toxic links report.
They tell you which links are garbage. In fact, those things will hurt you. A friend of mine, who’s the Arizona’s vision. He’s an eye doctor in Phoenix and his friend thought he was helping him by doing all this SEO. And he bought a bunch of garbage links and we just spent all this. Cleaning up his stuff and then submitting things like a disavowal request to Google saying, yup, we, sorry, these aren’t links that are really ours restore.
We hired this SEO guy and he bought a bunch of garbage links. It’s called Google bowling. When you want to screw over your competitor by buying them a bunch of garbage links. So you might think you’re helping, but actually you’re just damaging yourself. What do you think about that? So, Dennis, if we cut through everything you’re saying really you’re not saying is SEO.
SEO is not dead. SEO exists. What I think you’re really trying to say is what’s dead or what should be dead. Are people claiming to be SEO, gurus claiming they have this secret sauce, like you referred to earlier taking advantage of the lack of knowledge that a small business owner may have about how. To achieve everything you’re talking about just by doing good content and good relationships.
And instead of hiding their secret sauce, they should be teaching the fishermen, how to fish. They should be teaching the domain expert who owns the website or business, how they could leverage good content and good relationships to improve their SEO. Is that what you’re saying? So imagine everyone here in the audience, Jeffrey, anyone listening or reading, let’s say you had a, some kind of pain or maybe you got in a car accident, got injured and you go to the hospital and the, you know, you’re dying and you’re bleeding and this doctor or nurse comes up and says, Hey, Jeffrey, I can do the surgery to fix your arm or whatever, but it’s the secret, right?
I can’t tell you anything about it, how we do the surgery, but what do you think we go ahead and do this and you got to pay me an extra, a hundred thousand dollars to do this secret surgery. That’s not taught in med school.
I’m going to save my money and find a different doctor. That’s right. So let’s say you have someone else. Who’s an expert. He’s the pilot, right. Flies for American airlines. I’m about to board a flight in an hour and a half to go to Phoenix. Do you think that pilot learned all the secrets? Do you think he had the secrets of flying a 7 37 series 800?
No. And the same thing for these, these SEO people, they’re just witchcraft, Weegee, bore, witch doctor, whatever the word is you have for people to sell, you know, these shamans that sell garbage and yes, there is some technical skill. We’ve taught a ton of courses. We have one of our most popular courses in SEO, 1 0 1 course.
We talked about how to actually do SEO. And what is SEO for small businesses? You know, real estate agents and mortgage brokers and attorneys. Like how do you rank on these keywords? Well, here’s how you do competitive analysis. Here’s how you create the content. Here’s how you build relationships, right?
Here’s how you social to try to generate content and drive links that then influenced a search. That’s that’s what it’s about. It is completely visible. And in the latest tools that have come out in the last few years that are basically building their own search engines. Cause th the SEO tools to be effective, have to build their own index.
They have to build a search engine. Okay. Just think about it. If you have to, you have to reverse engineer the rankings and pull all the data you, it is, it’s all transparent. So this guy, I told you, Jim, who did the SEO for Quiznos before he got kicked out courtesy of me. And he got so mad at me for kicking them out.
But I said, dude, you weren’t even doing anything. I did. I did. I ran an analysis and I found that you didn’t build any links in the last three months. So you say you do SEO. All you did was hit the generate report button on the first of the month, send them this gigantic thing and printed out a hundred pages.
And then bill them a few thousand bucks. What a dude, man, you can’t be doing that. Where are you doing? You know like, oh, well the search, the Google does a dance and the search engines constantly change. And you know, it’s, it’s a secret. We can’t tell you what we did. You didn’t do anything. And that’s what I see with most people that claim to do SEO, especially when they outsource to other people that claim to do SEO.
Another friend of mine runs an agency. Bless, bless his heart. He’s a good guy. He’s very well known and he outsourced the SEO, but he doesn’t know exactly what happened. So he’s a fat man getting a shoe shine. And that agency that does the SEO, all they do is buy links and generate content via link farms.
And you know what? It actually does work temporarily. But if you know, you can’t see, what’s actually happening, you have to wonder like, is it really a secret? Or do they want do this? They don’t want admit that they’re not really doing anything. And they’re charging you a thousand bucks a month for who knows what’s going on.
Yeah. So I think that one thing that’s been consistent while algorithms change over time. The one thing that really hasn’t changed from the very beginning is that, um, relevant, original content gets rewarded when it comes to search. Right. It’s always going to be that way. And it’s the same thing with social media.
Here’s something that you can think about. So back when it was just websites, 25 plus years ago, the only way to determine a signal of whether someone deserves to rank on a particular search term was voting and the voting was the other websites that link to you. And that seemed like a reasonable thing until people could just buy a bunch of links from these other link farms.
And auto-generate all of these internal pages on a website that linked to each other. So it looked like there were more backlinks. We had a rule where if the website had a hundred unique linking domains, then it probably was like a reasonably legit site. Why? Because that’s something that’s harder for a spammer to do spammer spammers, just going to buy a bunch of fake leads from these other places.
And so Yahoo, we had these different things that we looked at to see whether there’s. Some element that is basically, what’s the hardest thing for a spammer to do well, get a link from a.gov or.mil website, right? Military or government site, or get a real link from the New York times or something like that.
Cause it’s like, why would a trusted site want to link to that? So we use these things that we thought were very hard to fake as the best signals of whether those things deserved ranking or had any kind of trust. And back then Google had this thing called the, the, the toolbar rank. They would tell you on a scale of one to 10, whether they thought you had some basic level of trust and it’s true.
The toolbar page rank wasn’t the same as the actual page rank was calculated differently, but it was a good approximation. And my site, my blog, Dennis dash.com had a page rank of seven. So if those, those of you who are pros in the space, that’s hard to get. I mean, it’s not as high as, you know, CNN or wall street journal.
And these guys that are eight, nine and 10. It’s pretty high. So a link coming from a trusted site that has a ton of page rank, a ton of authority because other high power domains are linking is like whoever they vote for. It’s just like a good friend that makes us that friend. So with websites, link each other it’s friends that are endorsing one another.
Now we don’t have just websites. We have all these apps and we have social media, but there’s still the same voting mechanism that is based on people voting for one another. So who has more votes? Well, if the account is bigger, if the account is followed by people who are well-trusted, so you can simulate the idea of edge rank as page rank, which your sites or properties that linked to one other, and you figure out where all the nodes are and where the power is concentrated.
So I would argue the same fundamental mathematical technique of calculating who deserves to rank in search engines as the same thing, as determined who’s popular or trustworthy or authority. And social. And because those two are the same, it converges into building your overall reputation or your personal brand and whatnot.
That’s why I believe SEO and PPC and social media and PR all the same thing. It’s just different people. Instead of links being the vote is people clicking like, or people watching like tick talks washing through the end. Those are all still votes. But in the world of when there was just websites, that’s all we had.
So now we have more data and I think increasingly it should be harder to fake out these systems, but that’s proven wrong because fake news, you can spread all sorts of fake stuff with deep fakes and the people will buy the latest conspiracy theory or, you know, whatever it is because it’s pushed to the top because more people are voting for it.
Yeah. It’s complicated, but it’s really everything you’re saying. Goes back to relationships and, and a lot of it’s the same, even with, with human relationships. You know, you’ve talked before here, Dennis, on the coach, you show about the people you surround yourself with and, and the relationships you might have.
And obviously if, if you see someone and they’re associating with someone that you think highly of, you naturally think more highly of the person you see with that person. So it’s the same thing with these trusted links, links with high high authority coming in from these trusted sources, it’s really the basics of any type of relationship building.
Isn’t it? You know, it’s funny Jeffrey you’re right on and everyone should follow Jeffrey. Who’s the CMO of paul.com. So I’m a search engine engineer. And if anyone here also worked at a search engine, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are too. You’ll probably corroborate what I’m saying. So people think of me for example, as this geek, right?
This Asian guy, good at math. Did all this data analytics, huge data file munching database work. And here I am saying, this is the search engine engineer is telling you it’s all about building relationships and the people who are non-technical are saying, oh, it’s all about all these technical tools and wizardry and this other guy, who’s got some secret magician wizard stuff going on.
It’s so funny because if anybody should be giving technical advice, it should be the technical person yet. I’m saying it’s about building relationships, which then create the, the signal that leaves a paper trail of who’s trustworthy and who has good content. For example, you write a blog post, it could be generated by Jasper or some AI, or maybe, you know, someone well-known wrote it, an actual good piece of content actually helpful.
And because Google analytics is installed on most websites or whatnot, the engines, you know, Google can see like, did. Do people enjoy that content? Did they stay and read? Do they go further in the site? Did they click back and go to the search results? Because it sucked and others did they bounce right away?
So the search engine can see that. And so that’s ultimately what they’re looking for and that’s what prioritizes your movement and search results is. You know, once you get into the top 10 or 20 based on rank brain and you could Google it and see what all that stuff is, it’s based on the behavior. So people really like your content and stop use your fully algorithm.
The algorithm is relying upon what the users are doing. Then it’s ultimately about relationships and knowledge. And guess what the same thing is true on social media. It’s about engagement and different things have different weighting, like on Facebook, a likes worth one point comments worth six, and a shares were 13 points and, uh, hiding the page and reporting spam.
And that kind of thing is worth minus 100. Right? Approximately I talked to Facebook engineers, they verified it, right? Why wouldn’t it be the same thing and everything else where there’s different ways. That add and subtract trust based on a relative point scale system. Like the whole thing with page rank and authority score or authority rank or whatever, the, the measure, any of the tools used to simulate what the, the amount of juice that’s accumulating to a site is all based on adding and subtracting these positive and negative.
Yeah, that’s great. So this is the coach you show on start-up club. And if you’re listening and you want to ask a question to Dennis, or if you have a comment you want to share an opinion about this topic, feel free to raise your hand. We’d love to have you up here on stage with us. And we are recording this show and we have replaced turned on.
So you can listen to this show or share the replay and it firstname.lastname@example.org, the website for startup club, you could find recordings of past episodes of the coach. You show and sign up for our mailing list to find out about other things going on here at startup club. So if you’ve got a question or a comment, or if you agree or disagree with anything, we’ve been saying, raise your hand and come on up.
And, um, we’d love to hear from you. Amen. And I’d love to hear from you guys, especially if you disagree on any of these points, a lot of these. Uh, that do SEO. They say they do SEO for living. They call themselves an SEO, just like some of you might call yourself an MBA. You’re not an MBA. You got an MBA, right?
You are not an SEO. You, the result of what you do is you get more search engine traffic. One of the things that is a huge pet peeve of mine is people that produce these reports that all the tools generate that will say, Hey, look, you have 1200 keywords that are in the first a hundred results, which 10 pages of Google.
And now we went from 1200 to 1300. So we’re improving our SEO. Are we? Well, you could be ranking on a whole bunch of garbage keywords that aren’t really worth anything. And if it’s the first hunt first a hundred results, that doesn’t mean anything because you know how to hide a dead body. Right? Second page of Google, if it’s not on there, it’s not on the first page.
And if it’s not on a term that is meaningful to you, that’s worth saying. Then who cares? You’re probably just hurting yourself. I’ll give you two examples. So when I ranked on Facebook advertising, I thought that was a pretty good thing. I mean, wow. I that’s a competitive term, right? Imagine breaking number two on Facebook advertising.
And number one is Facebook themselves and generates lots of phone calls, lots of small businesses. Hey, I got to start up and I want some help with Facebook advertising. And so I got flooded. I got thousands of these people trying to call me and email me. And most of them were just people that didn’t have any money.
And I mean, I want to help everybody. That’s why I wrote these articles, but all of them wanted me to be on the phone and give a free consultation to see whether I might be a fit or whether we can help them. And it just, it was, it hurt us. Right. So it’s just because you rank on a keyword and it drives a lot of traffic.
It doesn’t even necessarily mean it’s any good. It has to be a key word that has enough tenant enough intent that it actually results in something meaningful for your. So go further than just ranking reports, which are what the tools generate, trace rankings into actual traffic, like people clicking on your website or watching your videos or whatever the next step is.
And then from there into does that turn into a sale of a product or service? So my view of SEO is I start from the business result, which is driving sales, right? Making the cash register ring, or someone checks out in Shopify. So one has to buy something. They buy one of our courses like Facebook for a dollar a day.
And I trace that back to the source of the traffic using the source medium report inside Google analytics. And then I traced that back to rankings. But this whole idea of starting with these just general set of keywords then to rankings or how many rankings I have. I don’t care about how many rankings I have.
I care about how much revenue I have and even more important, you know, how much margin I’m generating on that. Hey Aaron, Hey. Yeah, I think. Um, one of the things that I think it’s like how many actual human to human conversations you can generate, like for instance, a lot of people be trying to like get over it.
A lot of like SEO traffic they’ll get people to the page that they won’t necessarily be like a clear call to action. And even if you’re trying to sell something like a SAS product for some type of surface, like a lot of it, I think like requires getting on like a webinar with the human being and really, really like trying to like pitch them your product, get them to like, understand the value that your product adds in order to like make sales.
Like I’ve been finding that it’s almost impossible to make sales without like human human conversation. Um, I guess it really, really depends on the product. So I think that’s like, like an interesting strategy of how you can then convert this to, to ones that you can have like a zoom conference with.
Amen, Erin. I love it. I think you’re right on the idea that you need to have a good product or service because that’s what generates feedback and conversion. And you have to be able to create a good user experience. So once you get the click, you got to convince them to buy, which means having a good product, testimonials, good user stories, whatever it is.
So no amount of STL, magic’s going to overcome having a crappy product and not having a great landing page or user experience. Right. Right. Yeah. I think a lot of startups will be spending a lot of time trying to be like Facebook ads, trying to do like Google ad-words, but really their time is best spent just like pumping down their customer and trying to get them on the phone, trying to get them on a conference.
Amen. 100%. Appreciate your bro. Great feedback. Hey, anyone else it to hand raised button? Got a comment question you want to argue? I love the people who want. So come on up. I want to hear what you guys have to say.
Well, while we’re waiting for people to come up, Dennis, you know, I think Aaron also raised a good point, too. It’s not quantity, it’s quality. Right? It’s you know, and you pointed it out earlier, when you talked about, you know, ranking high for the wrong keywords or the wrong terms, you’re attracting the wrong customers.
Right? And, and how many examples are there? Thousands of websites and businesses that have a lot of traffic that they cannot monetize because it’s not useful traffic. It’s not the right traffic. It’s not the right customer. That’s why for e-commerce businesses, that conversion rate is so important because you know, it’s one thing to get a 300, 400, 500,000 unique visitors a month to come to your site.
But if none of them are buying anything, what’s the point, right? It’s not, it’s not serving any purpose and you’re obviously not attracting the right people. You guys want to hear a horror story that. I don’t know if I’ve ever shared. And I don’t know if anyone has even heard this before. So we had WWE as a client for a few years, so they used to be called WWF.
That’s the wrestling, right? People call it fake wrestling, or they make fun of it and Vince McMahon and all that. But I really enjoyed it. I’d love going to Stanford meeting with these guys and Vince McMahon was wow. He was a hoot. That guy, man, he created a whole industry. I could go on and on about how much I admire this guy.
And before they were WWF, there were the world wrestling Federation and they lost a lawsuit with, against the world wildlife fund, which is like saving pandas and that kind of thing. And the world wildlife fund had a choice. Places won the lawsuit on either they can have their name. They can have the URL wwf.com or they can get a million dollars from.
And I’m sure you could probably Google parts of this to corroborate that this is true and they chose instead to have the domain name. So they had to WWF. So then Vince McMahon had to move to WWE. So we, you know, I, I ran the PPC ads and the social media. They put a whole team to drive e-commerce sales and pay-per-views and WrestleMania.
And I saw firsthand how much traffic we were getting. And I can’t imagine that the world wildlife fund, who doesn’t have the server infrastructure or the technical sophistication that we did to manage a top 50 website property on the planet. Can you imagine how much traffic we had and all the people that were then typing in WWF expecting wrestling.
Instead, our here’s a campaign to save the pandas. They got pummeled with traffic because I saw how much traffic we had. So, so all this other traffic was going to the wrong site. And these guys, instead of taking the million. They got hammered with millions of dollars of server costs because they didn’t understand a basic SEO principle that the stronger brand was the wrestling company.
And there, there was no way they could overcome that. So they should have taken the money, but instead they wanted the brand. So what, what do you think of that as an SEO mistake? You heard anything like that before? I think it speaks to like a very, very like, interesting, like SEO hack that you can do. You know, if you can find like a competitor that’s doing a lot of ad spend, you can figure out how you can like associate your brand with their brand and try and like piggyback off of their exposure.
I think, uh, there’s some brilliant like strategies that could be potentially applied like intentionally, like what you’re talking about that. Amen. I’ll give you another example. So one of my friends owns ten.com. So it’s Michael, who’s a CEO of a publicly traded porn company. Yeah, it’s new frontier media.
And so ten.com you know, like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. So we own ten.com T E N don’t go there. It’s the erotic network. So it’s basically a porn site and he came to me. He wanted some help with, with SEO. And I took a email@example.com just because they’re typing in 10, this or 10 that, because, you know, people don’t know the difference between typing in HTTP, colon slash slash blah, blah, blah.com.
They just type in 10 and then they go to something which isn’t really what they were looking for. One of my best friends. Who’s, who’s a really good guy, real smart, but not really a computer sort of guy. He was buying some tennis equipment for his kid, Neil, cause he’s like doing everything as a stay at home dad to take care of the kids, like give them the best of everything.
And so he wanted to go to Dick’s sporting goods to get more tennis equipment and tennis balls. So he went to Dixon. And what a surprise that was, right. So that’s just an example of SDO going the wrong way. And since then, Google has corrected a lot of it. Or there’s another friend of mine he’ll sometimes pop into these clubhouse rooms and he owned cowboys.com.
Right? That’s a great, that’s a great term, cowboys.com and the Dallas Cowboys sent him a cease and desist saying, Hey, you need to get back that name. It’s trademarked where football team, you know, the lawyer sent all this stuff and he said, no, I’m not going to because he didn’t use any of the trademarks.
He didn’t use pictures of the Dallas Cowboys. He instead just had pictures of like gay Cowboys. You know, I can’t quit you, man. Was it bare back mountain, one of those ones. And so can you imagine all these like hardcore Dallas, Cowboys, football fans, they love Jerry Jones and they go to cowboys.com and they see all these naked Cowboys doing things.
And after the. That I didn’t do this. This is my friend. Okay. After my friend changed that website. Cause you don’t have to the lawyer’s like you tried to play hardcore, like, oh, we’re going to take you to court. We’re a big company. And you’re just some little domain guy after he changed that website to have all the, you know, gay Cowboys and whatever, then Dallas Cowboys paid him the money that he was looking for.
And it’s all because he did SEO the right way. So think about that. Yeah. When it comes to SEO and domains, then it’s, we could do a whole show on that. And there’s actually a lot of. Uh, content around that topic firstname.lastname@example.org and domain club here in clubhouse. But that’s why, you know, if you’re investing all this money in driving traffic to your site and you have a strong brand, you know, it’s recommended to also acquire the misspellings of your domains.
Cause Aaron, the type of hack that you’re talking about, what a lot of people will often do. If they know there’s a very popular website that gets a lot of traffic, they’ll buy. Uh, misspelling or a common misspelling of that website’s name and then have that go to their site and take advantage of all the people who mistype or misspell things.
And they basically hijack a lot of traffic from that popular site. So if you’re building a strong brand, you want to think about different ways. People might try to find your brand and make sure you control all those domains, but this is a whole, whole nother discussion. We can have another time. It’s a pretty, pretty rich topic.
And as you know, for the past 10 years, I was the co-founder and COO of.club domains, which we just sold the GoDaddy. So I spent a lot of time addressing a lot of these domain issues. Amen. It looks like we have is an almond welcome. Yes. Hi, thank you, Dennis. Thank you Jeffrey for getting me up on stage. Uh, uh, so I run a software company where we build apps for, uh, we build apps, mobile apps, a lot of custom softwares for clients across the.
So I have a question regarding SEO in terms of backlinks, do you think it’s better to have, you know, 50 or a hundred backlinks, which have high demand authority, maybe 90 plus, or is it better to have like 500 backlinks with domain on-sites which have domain you have about 50 plus I take the 90 plus all day long because you know, the domain authorities on a log scale.
So a 60 is not just a little bit better than a 50 as an order of magnitude better. It’s like six to 10 times more powerful and a 70 versus a 50 is anywhere from 60 to a hundred times more powerful. So if you, in a realistic situation where you’re getting a ton of Dr. 90 plus links, how are you doing that?
That those are only major media.
Um, some of them are sites like, uh, LinkedIn and, uh, you know, the other profile sites. So there’s a list of sites, which you could do that on. Oh, those, those are no fault. Yeah. You need to get actual links. Not, not the no-follow ones. Yeah. So just to have a LinkedIn profile, like I have a Facebook profile, I have a Twitter profile with the blue check and that’s, you know, whatever he are 98 or something that, that doesn’t count because it doesn’t pass any juice.
But when you have to have, is an article about you or your software company with do follow links where the media is actually covering you, not just because you have a Twitter profile and you know, Twitter is like a Dr. 99 or whatever it might be. Right. You follow what I mean? Yeah. But maybe sites like Reddit and slash.com.
I, I don’t think they are not far. They are, do follow. I think if it was that easy, the game of SEO would be over by now. Anybody can post anything. Th the sites that actually carry SEO power are the ones that are very hard to get. So it was just that easy to post the slash dot or read it. And all of a sudden you’ve got a site linking to you, then why would anyone do anything else?
Right. I wish things were that easy if it were, none of us would be here. Right. Got it. I just have one more question. Can I quickly ask that, go for it. Uh, what do you think in terms of percentage, you know, in terms of percentage, what, what do you think will get you up on, on the first page regarding technical SEO, uh, backlinks and maybe a few other things.
What do you want to rank for? Uh, say something like, um, mobile apps, development, mobile apps development. Oh, man. Do a search. Sorry, sorry. Maybe mobile app development companies. Don’t do. There’s so many out there, unless you’re a major player that is just ridiculous. The whole first page is Dr. 80 plus.
Right. You know, it’s going to be better just like what Jeffrey. And I think Aaron talked about collect the feedback from the happy customers where you built mobile apps, promote them, not in a testimonial like way, but share actually, how do you build an app? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, go behind the scenes, share your expertise.
That’s going to be way better than trying to rank for a generic term, even better than, I mean, what you could go for is mobile app development, for whatever, you know, the industrial pipe fitting Outfitters, right? Some kind of niche industry, but not mobile apps overall, because think about all the different industries that need an app.
You need to have a, you know what I mean? You gotta be real. You gotta really niche it down. So any of us here, like maybe we do Facebook ads for real estate agents, right? Or for whoever it is you’re going to do so much better when you niche down. Not just because there’s less competition, but because you’re going to build a community of other people that all have similar sorts of needs, does the mobile app development for a SAS company is different than for like a best buy.
If they want to change their point of sale or integrate NFTs or like what they’re all going to be so different. So I would ask you Amman, what is, what is your lighthouse client, the one client you’re most proud of that you’d love to get 10 more of the same thing. What industry are they in? What are the things that you did for them blog about it and make videos about it, share it openly in a non salesy kind of way, and get 10 more of that.
And that’s your best approach? Not trying to rank on mobile app development. Good grief. Do a search here. I’ll just do a search right now. I bet you there’s 200. Search results for this or more, maybe even a billion mobile app development. All right, here it is mobile app, mobile app development companies, mobile app development companies.
Yeah. Same thing. A zillion search results. That is a blood bath. If I wanted, if I hated somebody, not that I ever did, but if they were a mobile app development company and I wanted to have them go out of business, I would help. I would ask them to go try to SEO for that.
Yeah. I agree. Like to be able to like find new customers through SES, like for mobile app development company, I think it would be very, very hard. I think your best approach would be like, um, like Dennis was saying like try and like create like a tutorial or some type of thing where like, Hey, we created this app using this framework of this technology and a post-op at it, like on LinkedIn or like other, other websites like that.
Um, I’ve also been finding, finding like, like Upwork to be like a good place, like, um, like behind a lot of posts. Um, through that for mobile app development, I’ve got like a software, uh, like app platform company, um, to kind of use that, um, to try and like find customers that are like looking for like, uh, like qualified freelancers to do any type of development.
But also maybe like another idea, like, I haven’t tried this myself, but if you went through like the app store, maybe like a specific genre of apps or whatnot, and kind of like reviewed what’s out there, and you could say like, Hey, this app would be like significantly improve at these various features.
And then like reaching out to the company saying that you’ve built these features before you can add it to their, their app. Um, something like that. I think maybe it should be, could be a good approach. Yeah. You really like with anything, um, in terms of a business, you want to know who your customer is.
You don’t want to be so generic, you can, you can’t serve the entire universe of people who might want an app developed. And you probably have, if you sit back and back and think about it, a niche or a type of app that you are more expert at than just anything, maybe it’s focusing on e-commerce maybe you’re really good at doing apps that involve a video content or whatever.
And then you want to target your SEO to attract people who have that particular need. Just like, you know, in any field, there are builders, builders, developers who specialize in certain types of homes, you know, um, they’re going to look for the customer who wants that type of home. They’re not just going to be a generic home builder for anyone.
So it’s the same, same kind of thinking I think applies to you. I’ll give you an example. So we ran the Google and Facebook ads and email and digital for the golden state warriors, the basketball team for five and a half. And I wanted to get more pro sports teams, right? I mean, why not? We had, where if they’re paying us, it was a lot of fun.
I really enjoyed it. We’re making money. So if I was approaching SEO, what would I want to rank on? Let’s see digital marketing for pro sports teams, NBA teams, Facebook ads, like all these other sorts of keywords, but I didn’t do that. Instead. I took the head of digital innovation for the warriors and I took their COO and I took all these other people that worked at the warriors and I put them on podcasts and I put them on public speaking tours.
One time I got invited to keynote at a conference where the previous year Richard Branson was the opening keynote. It was in this huge stadium. So they invited me to speak and I went to the stadium, but all I did instead of doing the 45 minute opening keynote was introduced the head of digital marketing for the golden state warriors.
And he talked for four. I had talked for five minutes and he talked for 45 minutes and he had a fantastic experience. I mean, imagine that you’re speaking in a stadium, it’s a great thing. The newspapers and the media and all that are taking it up and sharing, you know? So instead of building fame for myself, I mean that, would’ve been a nice thing.
This other guy did, but guess what happened? The NBA picked up on it and Facebook picked up on it and other newspaper and whatever outlets in the United States, these pro sports industry magazines picked up on it. And we saw what the golden state warriors were doing because in the presentation, Daniel referenced what we were doing.
He referenced me a few times. So if you do a search on golden state warriors, Dennis, you you’ll see a lot of these media placements that we got. And it was because I highlighted the client instead of talking about us. So Amman, I want you to think about how you highlight the client. I’m sure Aaron does.
Highlight the client, get them do PR for them and that’s going to build, and then the, you know, the Chicago bulls and the Phoenix suns, and these other teams reached out and we started, you know, the Houston rockets. We started doing some campaigns for them, and it had nothing to do directly with us trying to do SEO for those terms, we’re really using PR and we got traffic because people saw it.
There was word of mouth. We got published in a bunch of these industry magazines, right? That’s what that is the most gorilla smart. I believe technique to do SEO. If you are an agency or a consultant or whatnot is leveraging your clients to get into those high power magazines, which when they linked to you, you know, that’s a Dr.
Like sports illustrated links to you. That’s a Dr. 92 or whatever it is. Fantastic. You see what I’m saying? So don’t talk about yourself because people don’t want to link to you when you do that. Yeah, I’ve really liked the idea that Dennis’s presenting here. Um, and I’m thinking another idea is you could, uh, like host a online virtual conference, uh, like with your company’s name and you can invite like other developers from other companies or whatnot to like come share their like software app development experience, like creating apps in different frameworks, yada yada, yada, um, just to generate more content, that’ll give you more exposure.
That’ll like add some, like a reputation to here, like app development company as like holding this conference and you can do a few different series on, on them. You can say like react native apps, uh, development conference via the sponsored by this company. And a lot, a lot of people want to just like speak at these conferences just to get like a exposure, like their resume, all kinds of other stuff.
Um, but I think that would be, uh, a good way at least to attract an audience. Maybe find some potential customers that way.
Excellent. Good job, Erin. All right. Jeffrey, what do you think? Excuse me. I think it’s a, it’s a great topic. I think, um, would have been interesting. A few more people came up and challenged some of the things you said, but maybe next time, but that’s that’s okay. Um, I think it’s an important topic, but I think it’s not, you know, in the early days, as you referenced earlier, Dennis, when, when there was such thing as a webmaster who did everything, including SEO and the plumbing and everything else and the HTML and, and, uh, answered the support, uh, messages that came into the website just did it all now.
Everything’s much more holistic, right? We’re into so many different channels. You know, everything, every customer you’re trying to reach is bouncing around from their mobile phone, to their tablet, to their smart TV, to talking to someone, uh, to social media. That that, to just talk about SEO by itself, almost doesn’t really make sense because SEO is really just part of a holistic approach to marketing, which includes your content.
It includes your advertising. It includes, you know, all of the brand communications, all of these things together, the relationships we talked about, that’s all going to contribute to optimizing your ability to be found by search engines. In my opinion, that’s a mic drop moment. I don’t think anybody could have said it better.
Thank you so much, Jeffrey and I love being part of startup club. The coach you show here, and people like Jeffrey that donate their time and other people to try to help other people in digital market. I want to give you one other example that I think is kind of funny that only industry people I think would ever see.
So back when we were doing ads and such for WWE, which is the wrestling company, we had, you know, all these people could be like John Siena or the rock or other sorts of, we call them wrestlers, but they wanted to be called talent. And a lot of them, they left to go do movies. And which is the thing that Vince McMahon got pissed about.
Right? Cause he trained them up, get a media trained and then they go do some other things and forget about WWE. And we had one of them and he was called the undertaker. Do you guys remember the undertaker? He had this and all the wrestlers had to have their own they’re independent contractors. They had to have their own uniforms, their own outfits.
So he was just like scary guy dressed as this dude who would, you know, whatever harvest your soul or something. And at the same time we had another client and they were a nationwide. Funeral home company and they had caskets, they sold caskets. So we had two Google ad campaigns and that we’re both going after the keyword undertaker.
And one undertaker was Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, you know, like WWE, you know, raw presents, you know, whatever it might be, right. The undertaker vs so-and-so right live. Right. And can you imagine those somebody who’s typing an undertaker because their mother just died and then they see this WWE ad, right? Or from an organic search standpoint, they, they type in, you know, the undertaker cause they had went on the stats and they want to buy a t-shirt with the undertaker on it instead they’re like, you know, we S we sell the best variety of caskets for your loved one.
Can you imagine that? And so at the search engine, we had to figure out what the intent was. So we started working on this a long time ago, and a lot of the folks on my team at Yahoo went to go work at Google to try to take this further. I think SEO as a technical skill has largely gone away because the engines have been so smart and figuring out what the real deal is, what the real intent is going way beyond latent, semantic, indexing, taking do count social data, data from your phone data that the NSA doesn’t even know.
I mean, what are all this other data? So I don’t really think you can trick the engines. That’s, that’s why I love people to come. Like we didn’t really have, I usually will get one or two people that want to come up and challenge me, or maybe people know that they challenged me. I’m going to bash them because it’s just fun.
I love to see these people flex and see how far they get, but the engines are so smart. That really, that’s why it goes back to the relationships. So instead of fooling the engine, focus on really taking care of people and you hear the Google folks even say like, you know, put content out there that that actually deserves to rank.
So that is the bottom line on SEO is put stuff that really, you know, do a search for the thing you want to rank on and look at those first 10 results. You need to put up something that actually deserves to be better than the stuff that’s out there. Otherwise, why would anyone go to your thing? Why would Google want to show you in there that in the top 10?
So I’ll leave you guys with that. I think, I think, uh, one thing that’s like, kind of incredible about all of this is now that you can create like a really, really large company that basically is just a connector of everything. You know, I’m thinking about the idea of being like a, like funeral home, like a lead generator where you’re just like a middle person, um, to like other funeral homes.
There’s this like a retirement home finder or whatnot. I forget what it’s called, but they, uh, they do all these ads on radio, on the radio and there, they make like 300, $400 million a year. Uh, basically just, uh, generating leads and phone calls and like web site referrals for people looking to like, put like, uh, their loved one to have retirement home.
I think it’s kind of incredible the power that the internet has. I created just from like a few people can like, like generate a huge amount of capital. Yup. Thanks Aaron. Thanks for sharing that. Thank you, Dennis. Thank you everyone who joined us tonight for another great episode of the coach you show, uh, we do this show every Thursday evening at 5:00 PM.
Pacific 8:00 PM. Eastern time here on startup club. And you can find recordings of the coach you show, and many other shows email@example.com, our website. And of course the replays are here in clubhouse. Thank you, Dennis. Thank you everyone for joining tonight. We hope you have a great rest of your evening and hope to see you again and another coach you show in the future by everyone.
Thank you, Jeffrey. Thank you everybody. Good night.