Podcast: The Importance of Small Business SEO
By Hibu |
This episode we take a close look at why SEO is so important for your local business. We talk with Mike Quayle, an expert in SEO strategies.
Check out this month’s podcast for a quick update on why you need SEO and what goes on behind the scenes to make your website, and all your digital marketing, work harder for your business.
Mike Quayle, Announcer, Lauren Schenck, Ian Messinger
Ian Messinger 00:01
Hi, I'm Ian Messinger with my co-host, Lauren Schenck.
Lauren Schenck 00:04
Ian Messinger 00:06
Thanks for joining us for this episode of Small Business Small Talk powered by Hibu. Our goal is to help local businesses across America succeed and grow with digital marketing. Today, we're talking with Mike Quayle, Managing Director of Marketeering Group. Thanks for joining us, Mike.
Mike Quayle 00:22
Hey, great to be here. Thanks, man.
Ian Messinger 00:25
Glad you could find the time. So let's, you know, we kind of let the rabbit out of the hat here. And you know, SEO was always a popular topic for small businesses, I think because it's, it's almost abstract, right? You say SEO to 12 people, and you're gonna come back with 12 different definitions of what that is. So let's, let's start there. What is SEO today?
Mike Quayle 00:48
Yeah, yeah, I like to joke that doing SEO, a lot of it just involves telling people what you do, like teaching people what you do. So you spend a lot of time talking about it. But you're right, yeah, it is a lot different depending on who you talk to. And the definition has changed a lot over the years.
Ian Messinger 01:05
I know, there's times where people say, you know, I want when someone searches for, you know, pizza, King of Prussia, I want to be number one, and it's like, hang on, there's a lot we got to unpack there. You know, that's pizza's pretty broad, you know, King of Prussia is a populous area. And like there's there's that may not be the right strategy here. So that's, that's the value of working with folks that, that know those rules and know those parameters to save nets. That's, that sounds really good. And if we could press a button to get you there, great. But it's probably not the path you want to go down.
Lauren Schenck 01:37
I think a lot of what we talk about with digital marketing, but especially with SEO is that it's not a set it and forget it situation is that you have to keep up with it. And you have to keep updating it because like you mentioned before, there's been so much change, and there is so much change, and the shifting with the new technologies and the new keywords and the new, you know, algorithms, it's really important for these businesses to really keep up with what's going on.
Mike Quayle 02:02
Yeah, just have a partner who's keeping an eye on everything in the background. You know, a big foundation of local SEO is of course, reputation management with reviews, and managing listings, making sure that you don't have incorrect business information out there. And if you don't have somebody watching for that, and making sure that it stays accurate, you can get yourself in really good trouble very quickly. But it's hard to do yourself, especially if you don't know, don't know who to talk to. And unless you want to spend hours responding to Yelp support emails, or Google support emails and trying to figure out how even works. And then
Lauren Schenck 02:37
on top of running a business. I mean, these small business owners don't have the time to chase down all this stuff, let alone the know how. So investing in digital advertising is a really important thing. Can you expand on that?
Mike Quayle 02:50
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the most successful SEO campaigns you have are ones where the business owner is really involved, but in a very different way. They're not involved in the typical SEO activities, like controlling building new local listings and doing keyword research and all the kind of technical things. What they're doing is they're focused on creating content. They're focused on being a thought leader, maybe they have a YouTube channel that they want to contribute content to and need some technical support their or they want to do some blogging or appearing on podcasts or something like that. That's really productive things that make a business owner feel good and feel like they're giving back to their industry. So we want the business owners to be heavily involved in their digital marketing campaigns, but not in the ways that are gonna give them a negative sentiment. Nobody wants to deal with negative reviews. Nobody wants to deal with listings, believe me, I've done it for many years. It's not fun work. So we like to think about it is we don't want disengaged clients. We don't want disengaged business owners from their digital marketing campaigns because that just creates more problems. But we want business owners to be engaged in in an appropriate way is the best use of both of our time.
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We're back with our guests today. Mike Quayle talking about small business SEM.
Ian Messinger 04:34
So kind of spring boarding off a large last question too in the in the broader sense of, you know, SEO being one of the one of the tactics to approach digital marketing for a small business in a very broad sense. What's the value of a small business investing in in digital marketing?
Mike Quayle 04:54
Yeah, it comes down to a couple of different things. So most people invest in digital marketing with So one of those two things in mind, they'll say, hey, I want to make sure somebody's keeping an eye on a campaign, or they want to be a little more aggressive, right? They want to treat search engines as a strong lead source. Regardless, they have two different scenarios most people are investing. So that kind of determines why they're doing it. The first one, right, just keeping things clean. And what we've talked about a lot, watching for spam, making sure listings are correct. Going back to the doctor jobs podcast, it reminds me of brushing your teeth. All right. It's something you know, you could do yourself, right. For the most part, you don't want to go to a dentist every morning and night to brush your teeth. But it's about keeping your business info clean, biting off nasty plaque and cavities, which would be negative SEOs and negative sentiments, things like that incorrect information. But even if you're brushing your teeth every day, you still gotta check in with a professional, it's a while, make sure you're doing it, right, making sure that you're doing all the things that are going to help your business. So even if you don't want to engage in any lot of people say manipulation of Google, you know, if you're trying to really improve your Google rankings, even if you're, if you're not interested in doing that, there's still justification for having somebody on board that can keep everything clean. Because not everybody is going to be as noble as you are. But if you decide that you want to treat things like search engines as a source of leads, you really need to engage in a flexible partner for that, to help you out. It would be most people, when they're making any big purchasing decisions for their business, they want to have some support, and it's wise to have some support. If you're going to do digital marketing, you need to be prepared for an investment. Because one of the big problems I see is most people don't equate money to visibility, they think SEO is free. You know that showing up at the top of search? I am the best pizza restaurant, so why shouldn't I rank and search and they tend to get a little angry at Google for not seeing it the way they see it is like that. But you got to think about you got to think about how much money is it worth to you, as a business owner to be visible at some part of search to be at the top ranking result in Yelp? How much money do you think those people are making from people seeing them there and ordering from their business? It's a lot and you're not the only one aware of how much money that's worth. So it's a marketplace. So just like you pay for the top ad, you really gotta get into mindset that you're paying for the top result in SEO, whether you're trying to pay an SEO agency to make you more popular based on Google's algorithm, whether you're going out and creating more content, whatever you're doing, it's worth money, and you should be prepared to spend a bit of money based on what you're gonna get out of it.
Ian Messinger 07:44
Sure, right. There's at least time being spent if not, you know, dollars and cents.
Mike Quayle 07:47
So, somebody, yeah, somebody's doing it. After you get through all the technical stuff, which is pretty quick. You know, there's not a ton to do really, when you're talking about the technical side of SEO, once you get past that you're in a purely competitive environment, who has the best listings, who has the most listings, who has the most content, who's linked to for the most websites, SEO very quickly becomes a competitive space. And that's another reason you think about the right keywords, not just the best keywords, you know, you got to really choose the right ones, otherwise, you're gonna get into a fight that you really can't afford.
Lauren Schenck 08:24
It just goes to show how much the marketplace has changed because it used to just be that once you had a website out there, you could just put it out there all you needed to do was exist and people could find that is just absolutely no longer the case.
Mike Quayle 08:36
Yeah, I've been doing SEO for about 20 years and when I first started our big moneymaker we would buy domains we would buy I remember I bought like Miami dentist I think it was maybe it was Tampa dentist because there wasn't a website out there for that and use put some fake caught like we are your best Tampa dentist if you're looking for a Tampa dentists, you know, choose Tampa dentist and it would rank number one, no problem. You just built the website and then you go out and you'd sell it to a dentist in Tampa and say, Hey, if you buy this, I'll switch all the Tampa dentist over to your brand name. And now you instantly ranked number one in Google for this, this phrase I both miss those days. And certainly don't miss those days because I think a lot of maybe under qualified to have a dentist that were ranked as the best time but dentists didn't really necessarily earn that visibility while they were
Ian Messinger 09:30
there for a long time to write. It wasn't it wasn't like I got you there for the day and a week later you're you're out like oh no, it was it was different. Yeah.
Mike Quayle 09:37
Oh, yeah. It's stuck. I mean, we're talking about days. I think a lot of people forget even how much mobile changed local SEO. And it was because of demand supply and demand that this was right when I was getting into local SEO where phone companies started handing out smartphones basically for free as part of your plans and you suddenly have this huge audit And some folks that maybe didn't have a computer at home, right? It wasn't that long ago that it became so common. And now they have access to the internet through their phone for basically, their cell phone plan. This really kicked off the the local SEO industry, because we had this huge influx of search volume from mobile phones. And this is why Google switched over to mobile first indexing, which is basically just saying they look at the web as a mobile phone. And this huge influx of new people changed how important it was to have a good website, a mobile optimized website, a fast website, and a lot of people started launching websites and mobile websites. And so "Tampa dentist," along alongside some rule changes with Google, I know just a big influx of new business, it completely changed. So it doesn't really work anymore.
Ian Messinger 10:48
Not as simple as that, you know, would be nice. Alright. So one of the things that's it's interesting to me in this discussion is, you know, we've we've talked about SEO, and then we've, we've talked about the way that you know, reputation management and reviews overlap with SEO. And we've talked about SEO as one, one part of a larger, you know, digital marketing strategy. So it's, it's interesting to me to see how all of these things are interconnected, you really can't talk about one without bringing up at least one other if not, if not multiple. So along those lines, again, taking that broader view of local digital marketing, and not not just SEO, and not just this or not just that what what would you say, are the five most important things that a small business should be doing when it comes to their local marketing,
Mike Quayle 11:34
I always consider SEO as kind of a reflection of a good local business marketing campaign, you everything you do in SEO should really be something that also does something else. Right, I never like to approach SEO as just doing SEO. So yeah, we really like to think of these as big broad marketing campaigns that way, hey, maybe it doesn't work out as well in SEO, but you've got great selection of top funnel content that's going to help you convert customers who are coming in from a different channel, like socially or something like that. So really, we kind of break it down. And this is referencing some of the more recent trends and things that a lot of SOC are working out there. And I put together kind of a collection in my mind, five things, right, that we're really talking to clients about this year, and then make up a really strong local business marketing campaign. And the first no surprises here. Reputation Management, if you don't have a lot of reviews, you're probably not going to be successful. In Google search, what a lot of people turn around and do with that information is say, Well, I'm gonna send out a big, I'm gonna send out an email to all my friends, all my past clients, and we get as many reviews as I can, because now I know it's important. Unfortunately, what really matters in review generation is long term consistency, Google algorithms are very smart. And so they can tell if you're just getting a massive amount of reviews, and they'll they'll treat that as maybe that's not very fair, maybe that's not the best reflection of the service over time. One of the reasons you work with an agency for review management is so you can spread it out over time, and create a real program that's going to get you two or three good reviews every month, not a ton of reviews one month and then no reviews. The following months, I'm not a big expert on on fitness, or health care at all. But it for me, it reminds me a lot about if you're if you want to get in shape, working out for four hours, once a month is probably not going to work out compared to spreading it out over time, right and exact same concept is gonna go into reputation management. And it's something you're, you don't want to look at all the time. Because again, it's a lot of times it's not the most fun work to look at feedback, whether it's positive or negative. So you want a company that's consistently managing that over time. And then you have your listings. And listings are one of the worst parts of local SEO nobody likes doing, you get a lot of paywalls a lot of people trying to get more money out of you when you deal with some of the really popular local listings. So this is something a lot of people focus on but they'd rather not do it themselves. Focus on you know, basically focus on making sure listings are correct and hire a company to monitor that for you because you're literally not even able to do it. If you want to update your listing Manta you want to update your listing a lot of directories. They just will block you out and say hey, work with a company because that's the way it works these days. It's frustrating if you're if you're trying to do it yourself. So if you outsource one thing to an SEO company and you want to handle the rest, I would say outsource listings and reviews let's do things but our answers listings first and then and tackle your reviews as well. Because there's one thing that's really tough to do in house and then take a closer look at your website. We talked earlier about finding the longtail keywords, you know finding the right audience for you and you can't really do that unless you throw a big wide ad out there. When we're working on SEO websites, I usually tell people create a page for every service you offer. Every industry you try to serve, create a page for every type of person you want to you want to go after. And some people organize their websites and exactly this way, and there's a good reason, or they'll have, you know, our services industries, we serve our customers, right. And it'll be personas, CEOs, contractors, front desk, people, things like that. Very important, because you want people you want people to self-segment, when they're doing their searches, the more specific the better. So you don't want people who are putting CPA, Seattle or accountant, Seattle, you'd rather have somebody saying, you know, accountant for nonprofit in Seattle, if you serve nonprofits as an insurer, because it's so much easier to target them. And you already know they're a qualified lead just based on the search they used. So you know, creating different pages for different scenarios, and putting good content on those pages, don't just copy and paste or search and replace for the industry, that you're putting the page together, that's not going to work that you know, getting somebody to work with you and creating that content, building that website, and making sure it's just completely full of that content. So important, it takes so much time, you try to try to do it on your own.
Ian Messinger 16:21
And we see that with a lot of our clients, when we first get started on on usually updating a website, you know, they have one from who knows when and right. It's that structure of you know, home services, contact, it can be, I won't say challenging, but we work really hard to make sure that they know that you know, dumping all your services onto a services page is not going to not going to serve anybody you know, it's not gonna serve you, it's not going to serve your, your customers, your clients, your patients, whatever, whatever industry, you might be in that you really have to break those out and start getting specific.
Mike Quayle 16:54
Yeah, it'll matter when you're thinking about your success and monitoring your success in SEO, where you don't want somebody necessarily to Google a CPA, for accountants, for CPA, for nonprofits in Seattle, and then start on your homepage, that's not necessarily the best user experience, you would want them to start their experience on your website, on that page that you created, that's specifically targeting them, not expect them to go find it, because they're probably going to be gone off your website by the time they find the content. So it's not just for optimization to target keywords, it's it's for the user. And everything we do in SEO has to be focused on what's good for the user. And that's how you really are successful on campaigns is focusing there. And you want to be investing in enough channels in your marketing to make sure that if one of those channels isn't working for a month, it's not panic mode, you need to find a marketing partner that can work with you that at least has a diversity in their service offerings.
Lauren Schenck 17:56
It's so true, we always advise our clients to have multiple types of campaigns because they perform different functions, you know, display is for brand awareness, just to get your name out there. But the website is where they need to land and get the information, the content that you talked about, and all the aspects of digital marketing work together where everything is consistent. And so your brand and your information is out there in multiple different places consistently. And which gives a level of trust to the potential customer to say, okay, these are legit people, because everything I see looks similar. Everything's going in the right place, everything is updated, everything is accurate.
Mike Quayle 18:34
Usually, what's happening is when you first launch a paid campaign, maybe you don't have a lot of budget to put into it because you haven't generate a lot of leads yet understandable. But the management of that campaign is going to be maybe you're running a single text campaign, you want to make sure that the keywords are correct. Maybe you're running two or three ads targeted towards different audiences. And that's fine.
Ian Messinger 18:57
Mike, thanks for joining us today and sharing your expansive knowledge of SEO and for helping us help local business owners across the country. And to all of you listening, be sure to visit hibu.com to see how Hibu can build you an effective digital marketing solution to generate leads and customers and delivers the kind of results you're looking for. If you liked what you heard on this episode, be sure to subscribe. And please if you can leave us a review it really does help us reach more small business owners like yourself. Until next time, this is small business small talk apps.
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