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SEO For a Lawn Care Business

SEO, basically it stands for search engine optimization and it concerns a number of different things. But basically, search engine optimization, the reason you do it is to rank high in Google and Bing, any of the major search engines. It concerns a number of different factors. We’ll just break them down into a few of the main ones. This is a very, very in-depth topic but we’re going to try to simplify it as best we can and just touch on the most important aspects.

I would say there are probably four main things, and then you can break them down into certain levels. But the four main things would be key phrase research, the absolutely most important thing that you’ll be doing, very important you get that right. The next would be the actual content on your website, the text that people see, the visible part of your website, and then the code and sort of the behind the scene things on your website.

The structure of the site.

Yes, exactly right, the HTML, the JavaScript, the CSS, the way the site is actually structured.


The place where your text is placed, your headlines are placed, and it even goes even further to your domain name that you choose and things to that extent. Then another huge, huge factor is what we call backlinking.


Backlinking I’ll go into more in-depth with in some other videos, but it’s also a very, very big part of search engine optimization. It’s one of those things that doesn’t take place on your website. It takes place away from your website.


We’ll talk about that in a bit.

Let me give a little bit of information on that, because I think otherwise they might be wondering a little bit about this.


So, in case you’re not sure, too, if this is even worth watching, you now have the definition of SEO. I personally think SEO, I mean you’ve got the paper plates, you’ve got the local. I think SEO is the thing where massive money can be made.


That’s why I think understanding this is so worth the time because this is the topic here that – I think it’s one of the most profitable things you can do in your entire business.


So, let me say something about backlinking because you’re going to talk about it more.


Basically when you get into SEO you’ve got two things. You’ve got, one topic is on-site optimization, which is exactly what Andrew has talked about. It’s the stuff you do to your physical website so that it looks attractive to the search engines. So that when somebody types in a keyword phrase on the internet, Google looks all around the web and say, “Well, which sites might match this keyword phrase, has something to do with it?” They look at the wording and all these key things you just talked about…


…on the website. That’s one of their first forms of criteria in trying to decide if they should even show it to the person that just did the search. So that’s on-site optimization, real important.

Then, even more important is this concept Andrew called “backlinks” and that’s the actual term. If you want to learn more, you search on “backlinks”. But there’s another word for it called “off-site optimization”. It’s the stuff, just like Andrew said, that happens outside of your website.

So if you can imagine, you’ve got your website. Everything you do there, that’s on-site optimization. Everything that happens all around the web, at Yelp, at ServiceMagic…

Google Places.

…Google Places, posting on somebody’s blog, asking questions, everything that has your link back to your website, that’s a backlink. It’s called “off-site optimization”. If you’re in a highly competitive market, meaning let’s say you sell a service and there’s a ton of guys competing, all trying to get their websites to the top of the search engines just like you, then these backlinks could be as much as 80%. They could be 80…

Very important.

Yeah. If you don’t get this right, you have no chance because 80% of all the effort you put into optimizing your website has to be put on the backlinks.

Exactly right.

Now, if you’re in a lesser competitive market, where there’s hardly anybody competing on that search phrase, sometimes you can just do the on-site stuff and maybe a couple backlinks but mainly just on-site, and you can get results. So, depending on how important your phrase is, then that’s going to determine how much effort you need to put into the backlinks, which we’re going to talk about.

But the backlinks is a topic you definitely want to understand. It’s like a popularity contest. What happens is – I’m sorry I’m taking over here but I think this is important – so what happens is you’ve got your on-site optimization which tells Google if whatever they’re searching on is if your website is even about that topic.

Then, if it’s a highly competitive market, they look at all the other websites out there that are about that same topic and the one that’s more popular, and they determine popularity based on how many backlinks, how many links you have back to the site . . .

As well as the number of [inaudible 00:04:27]

Yeah, exactly, of course. I’m simplifying on purpose.


But they look at these backlinks and at some level, whoever has more backlinks, the good backlinks…


…then they tend to rise up in the rankings.

In the simplest terms, at the end of the day, a lot of ranking on the web is a popularity contest in a sense.


Think of every link that you have from another website to your website is a vote.

That’s a great one, vote, yeah.

As you mentioned, the most competitive search terms, there’s no way you will ever get in the top ten unless you have an incredibly strong backlinking campaign.


If it’s a very competitive search result, without backlinks, no matter how good your on-site optimization is, you’re not going to break the top ten.

Yeah. That’s a great one. That’s what we’ve seen. Very cool. Yeah.

We’ll go into more in-depth in this in some other videos and this one as well, but it’s very good that you highlight the importance of it.


In some cases it can be even more important than doing your on-site optimization.


But as with anything in SEO and on-line marketing, you don’t focus on just one thing. You want to do a wide variety of different things and take advantage of a lot of the different things that Google and Bing look at in order to rank your site high. So backlinking is just one of them. There are many other things that we’ll be talking about.

So, what is the most important thing to do first?

Key phrase research, got to do it.

It’s like the foundation of everything.

Yes. Got to do it and, most importantly, you have to do it right.


If you don’t do it right, you’re going to waste a ton of time and money targeting search terms that people aren’t using to find your business.

Right. Or I would even interject, and this is an advanced topic, they seem like they’re search terms where a lot of people are searching, but for whatever reason, and sometimes these things can’t be explained, people that go search on that term don’t buy. For what, you can’t explain it. So there’s advanced topics here we’re going to talk about later in the video on how to make keyword research even more valuable.

Yes, test.

So talk about this because… Yeah, test. I know you do a lot of work with keyword research and you [inaudible 00:06:44] a lot.


So tell people a little bit about it. Keyword phrases are just search terms, right?

Yeah. It’s just another word for the search terms that people enter in Google. When you go to Google, whatever words you type into the search engine before you hit the Submit button, that’s the key phrase. That’s just the search terms that people are using to find a product, a service, whatever they’re searching for on the web.

Google counts every single one that’s ever typed into the system.

Oh, everything’s logged.

Yeah, they track everything so that’s why, when you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to use as your keyword phrases, Google can literally give you a count…

How many times people have searched for it.

…how many times people have searched in a time period.


Yep. Or even by seasonality. This is another cool advanced topic. We’ll talk about it but you can even see, based on the keyword phrase, in March a whole lot more people searched on this topic than they do in December. That’s good stuff to know. It’s good stuff to look at.

Google is pretty good about giving you a lot of sort of backend data that you can use to do your own research and find out exactly what key phrases are best for your business, what are some niche key phrases and different ways that you can get leads that other competitors might not have thought of, so key phrase research, hugely important.

You have to get it right. This is something I always tell people who… Like I said, we get a lot of calls of people who are just kind of scoping out our services, what we can do for them, and a lot of them at first are trying to do it themselves. But I always recommend, if you’re going to try and do things yourself, at least have a professional or somebody who’s very familiar with key phrase research and, even more importantly, with your industry or your market. Have them do your key phrase research.


Because if you don’t do it right, and you’re targeting the wrong terms . . .

You’re wasting your money and time.

…you’re throwing your money out the window.


So I just want to stress that again. But it’s hugely important that it’s done right.

Hey, on the topic of keyword phrases, so something I’ve always done all these years, if you’re in the service industry… Well, you’re in the service industry, so in the service industry people generally search on, lawn care in a city, or plumbing in a city, or HVAC in a city. Is any of that changing? Is that still happening?

Yes it is and we’re also seeing… If you remember earlier in 2011 as well, Google introduced their search recommendations. When you start typing . . .

Right, instant search.

Exactly. When you start typing, it’ll start making recommendations of what it thinks that you’re searching for. So, when they did that, they also sort of introduced some search phrases that people might not have been using as much as they used to. So, we’ve done research on that as well for particular industries that we’re servicing and we’ve also included those search terms in the key phrases that we target.

Oh, that’s smart.

Another point that I should make about recent key phrase research is that no matter what your business is, there’s going to be more than one search term that people are using to find businesses like you and your competitors.

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

I’m just throwing a number out there, but typically for a lot of businesses that we work for, if they’re a service business in a geographic area, they’re going to have more than 20 key phrases that should be targeted for the [inaudible 00:10:06].

Depending on the industry or pretty true for every industry?

I’m speaking specifically about location-based services and companies.


But typically you’re probably going to have 20, just about no matter what your business is.

Yep. Okay.

There are different variations. Even if you’re a plumber and you think, “Oh, my search term is going to be ‘plumber in Cincinnati’, whatever.” No, there are going to be other ones.

“Best plumber in Dallas”. I don’t know if that’s an exact one but I see a lot of stuff with “best” in it. Another example of…

Exactly right. There are going to be a lot of different variations. There’s going to be “emergency plumbing repair”, different things like that. It’s more than two or three words. There are people typing entire sentences when they’re searching. We try to determine those search terms as well and use that in the site content, within the backlinking and our whole on-line marketing plan to really beef up their search results. So, that’s key phrase research.

What about on-site? You talked about that in the beginning.


You were talking about, so we’ve got our website. There’s stuff we’ve got to do to that.


This was the part about Google evaluating every website out there and seeing which ones match the phrase to determine which ones, potentially, to send their customers, Google’s customers, the person searching, where to send their customers.


Tell us a bit, what is the number one most important thing on that page?

Page title.


Page title.


Top tags are actually what you see… Just to be clear, title tags are what you see at the top of your browser window, at the top of your program window. So, it’s also what you see in the search results page. When you search for a specific search term, you’ll see the listings and it will have the actual page title right there in the search engine’s results page. Below that you’ll see the description, which is the Meta description.

Page title is the most important because Google looks at that information and it sees that as the subject of the page. So, you really want to include your key phrase in that page title. Generally, the very first word should be your most important key phrase. Just by doing that, you will see your site rank helped just by doing that simple thing, putting your number one key phrase right there, the first word on your page title.

So, they’re very important. The impact that it will have on your ranking is direct, and you can see that change, so very important. This is just one of a number of on-site factors, but it is the most important.

Let’s talk about a few others before we do.


You had mentioned something. We were talking about the page title tag…


…top left. You alluded to the fact that when somebody searches, the title tag is what they see in the… There are a couple lines it’ll show in Google when you do your search on a phrase. It’s the first line that shows, that’s the title tag.

That’s correct.

The second line is the Meta description, that’s what you called it.


It’s basically in the code of the webpage.


Now, this isn’t really very impactful from my understanding on search results. I’ve heard it’s debatable. You can say what you will, I mean just go ahead and tell me. But I want to talk just briefly about how it is important, though, because that’s what the user sees and that could draw them into actually clicking on the website.

That’s exactly right, and that’s the whole point of even including a meta description tag.


If you go back ten years, people were putting a lot of weight behind the meta keyword tag and the meta description tag. These days, meta keywords, completely ignored. It’s something that you can completely delete from your page.


None of the major search engines use it, include it. It’s worthless. Many, many years ago, ten plus years ago, people would stuff them with key words and it did actually have an impact on the crappy search engines of many years ago. When Google came around, it discarded a lot of that information and completely ignores the tag today.

The Meta description tag, however, it does use that. It uses that information for directing the search engine results page. If you don’t include a Meta description in your page code, it’s going to take probably the first paragraph of content in your body copy, in the text that you can read on your page. It’s probably going to take that first paragraph and push that with the description. So, it’s important that you include a Meta description. The way that we think of it is the Meta description is really kind of your sales pitch.

Yep. Kind of like your headline, headline for your website to get them to click.

Yeah. It should be, give them a little bit of information about whatever that page is and kind of encourage them to click on that page. That’s really what the Meta description tag is for these days. Again, it appears right underneath the page title on the search engine results page.

So, we do include that in all the pages that we do. You want to have a meta description for that very reason so you can control exactly what your message is to your prospective clients and people who are searching for the particular terms that you’re targeting.

Good. All right, so let’s keep moving down. So, number one, page title, you’ve got to get this one right. Number two headers, header tags, H1 tags, H2, that kind of stuff.


Tell them a little bit about what that means.

A header is just simply a… If you’re at all familiar with HTML, there are a couple of tags that you use to format your text. Some of them are called they’re literally H1, H2, H3, H4, H5. These are just tags that you would wrap your text in within the page.

Inside the programming code, inside the HTML.

Exactly, inside the HTML and this is basically formats that text as a title. It just makes the font larger and it bolds the text. Of course these days, we have full control over how that looks so it could be any size, any color, not bold, bold, tiny, large. The way it looks doesn’t matter so much as the fact that it’s wrapped around these tags. Because you wrap H1 or H2 text around these tags, Google and other search engines do look at that and see that as a title, which goes along, sort of, with your page title in the same sense that it thinks it’s a description of the text that’s going to be following it.


So it’s also good to include your key phrases in that as well. Also, I’d include, and this would be a little bit more in-depth, it would be your sales pitch. It would be your call to action. It would be some of these things. But you want to always, if at all possible, include your key phrase within an H1 and H2, one of these tags on your page, if at all possible.

Yeah. We’re going to talk about this more but it’s a balancing act between getting rankings, like getting the search engines to like and favor your website to show it, and then making sure that the text you’re using in your site . . .


. . . converts, sells, gets them to keep reading, gets them to buy, gets them to take action. So it’s this balancing act. Now fortunately, there are plenty of case studies that prove, in some cases, using exactly the key word phrase in these titles actually helps convert.


It works. So you’ve just got to try things and test them.

You’ve got to test it, exactly right.

Yep. Body copy, you can probably talk about body copy and text and then since we’re kind of taking about headlines, what about image search these days. I know this isn’t probably one of the biggest ones but alt tags for your images, you want to talk about one of those?

Yeah. We track everything that we do, so it’s not like you’re going to be getting new clients because they’re searching for an image…


…of lawn care or plumbing or anything like that. But Google does look at all the code on your page and if it sees images that are named “lawn maintenance, Dallas, Texas” or the alt tag, which is the text that shows up before that image is loaded – it’s generally not visible to the viewer but it’s there in the background and the search engines read it. If it sees that as your alt tag, it also factors that into your page ranking, where your page ranks, because it thinks that your page actually contains images that have to do with the search terms that the page is ranking for.

So that’s also one of many, many, many factors that we include. We try to be as thorough as possible and hit all of the elements that we possibly can to make your page as optimized and optimum as possible and as friendly as possible to Google, Bing, all the major search engines. So that’s another thing. Image tags and even further than that, it is important to even include your key phrase even in your URL.

Alt description. Oh, in URL.

Yeah, in your directory structure.

So that would be not the domain name?


Well, that’s important too.


We’ll talk about that later but you’re talking about what comes after the domain name. So it’s myplumbingcompany.com and then /, it’s that next part.


The page name.

Page name, the actual file name.

Yeah, okay, that.

It could be plumbingservices.html.


It’s good to have a key phrase in that page if that page is about what the key phrase is that you’re talking about.

I’ve seen from experience that’s really big because a lot of times on Google, especially in markets with less competition for a key word phrase, you’ll a lot of times see the subpages appearing.


Instead of, if you had a website called “Jimmy’s Plumbing” or “Jimmy’s Lawn Care” and you had “Lawn Care Dallas” or “Plumbing Dallas”, a lot of times, because of that subpage, that’s what will appear in Google. When you click on it, it’ll go right to that subpage.

That’s right. Every page on your website, like we mentioned earlier, every page on your website should be targeting a different set of key phrases.


This is good, because you don’t want your main page of your website showing up for every single search term that people are searching for in Google or Bing or whatever. You want them to get the page that has the exact message…


…that will sell them on whatever they’re searching for.


So that’s good. We like that Google does that. That’s great. That’s how it should be. That makes sense and that’s the whole reason why we target one or two specific key phrases different on every page of the website.

Yep, and this brings up a good point. So one thing I’ve observed with a lot of companies, and maybe it’s because of the amount of money people are willing to spend, but I think a lot of SEO companies or agencies, what they do is they get cheap on this. They set up the structure of these pages properly and it’s a lot of work.

You’re right.

It really is a lot of work to create all these subpages. So, they get lazy or cheap or whatever it is, and so they basically just throw up a whole bunch of content and then quit thinking about the marketing ramifications. Like you were saying, when somebody goes to that site, just because they got there, if you were lazy about it and didn’t build that page out well to connect with the user and get them to take action, they’re just going to leave so it was all wasted effort.

That’s exactly right.

So if you don’t have the time to build out 20 and you’ve only got the time to build out three, you’re better off building out three subpages way better than you are 20 mediocre ones.

That’s a very good point. As an SEO consultant, the most of the time that my team spends is our copywriters spend a ton of time creating optimized content that sells. That takes a lot of time. It’s expensive, but it’s one of the most important things you can do. Have good copy, have optimized copy and the other most expensive thing that we do is backlinking, of course.


Backlinking and writing original copy, they’re just very time-consuming things but it’s a necessity.

This is a good point. So speak to the concept of – go along this idea of getting lazy about things. A lot of times you’ll see somebody take their website, put it up under another domain.


Or you’ll see them take a website subpage and just change a couple of the key words in the page and then change some of the wording through the pages. It’s pretty much the same copy otherwise. What does Google and Yahoo and those guys think of that?

Well, years ago you could get away with that on a certain extent. Especially beginning this year, Panda update rolled out and that was specifically targeting sites that were basically – all that they did was host tons of articles and press releases and sales pages that were almost identical, except there were a couple words here and there changed out. They were then linking back to their main site. The whole Panda update that came out around March of 2011, that really affected sites that were taking advantage of that.

The sites that weren’t affected were the websites that were writing original content, that were updating the content on their websites, that were always updating with something fresh and new.


How often you need to do this is going to depend on your market, again, and how competitive it is. This is also one of the reasons why we recommend that our clients have blogs.


We maintain a lot of blogs for our clients. We write a lot of original content for them on a weekly basis, on a biweekly basis, depending on what their budget is. But blogs are a great way to have fresh content on a site. Google loves it.


If you ever dig through any of Google’s blogs and listen to some of the lectures that some of their programmers give that write the actual algorithm that ranks all of our websites, they all say the same thing. Content is king and fresh content is going to be valued high by Google. That’s true with Google. It’s true with Bing. It’s true with all the search engines.

Yeah. A lot of savvy people are looking through the patents that Google is filing…


…to figure out how their algorithm works because Google’s trying to protect it with patents. So basically, at the end of the day, what everybody sees between what you were talking about this patent is Google’s trying to create an algorithm that looks for real information. What would a person naturally do?

For example, tell me if I’m wrong in any way here, but what Google’s looking for is, if all of a sudden this website pops up and it’s got 400 pages perfectly optimized and it happens overnight, nobody’s ever coming to this site, there’s no traffic, Google’s getting smart enough to realize stuff like that. They’re looking for natural, how does it work in the real world.

You put up a site. You add a blog post. Tomorrow you add another one. Three days you add another one. Then you update some stuff on your site. They’re looking for that build in traffic.

Exactly right. They’re looking for that natural… They know how a natural site develops on the web from its inception and then as it grows. They know what’s normal and what’s not.


Their algorithm is just going to continue to get better and better and better so this is why you don’t want to try to fool it. You don’t want to try to trick it. You want to play by the rules. But it does mean additional work. It means writing original copy. It means getting good quality backlinks. It means putting in a lot of work and a lot of leg work.

But when you do it that way, you’ll avoid getting banned in the future and you’ll have stable rankings. You’ll grow and climb slowly in the rankings but your rankings will be stable…

They’ll last. Yep.

…and you’re not going to get kicked when they do a huge update.

Yeah. I think about this, personally, in the stuff we do. I think about this as a long-term investment. So there was these terms “black hat”, “gray hat”, these were terms they used to use for trying to fake out the search engines.

They still do. There are always [inaudible 00:25:50].

A lot of SEO companies to try to make their client think that they’re getting them instant results, do a lot of this bad stuff. It’s going to come back to haunt the guys that’s paying the SEO guys or the agency all this money. So I’d rather just do it right, just everything you’re describing because you’re here to beat… You don’t want to spend a bunch of money and then have your site gone in a month or a year or two years.

Right. You don’t really have much recourse when you’re blacklisted by Google.

You’re done. Yeah. Google doesn’t care about you.

You wait it out. It can be months.

Yeah, so let’s talk a little bit more about the body copy. We were eluding to that because it’s a good conversation now because you were talking about the blog, updating with fresh content.


Talk about body copy a bit and how you might use through there. Is it still important? Is it relevant? What should people be thinking about?

Yeah, definitely. Your body copy should obviously be detailing your services. It’s going to depend on what pages are on your site, obviously. But it should be detailing their service. It should also have a call to action. It should be a sales page. You should tell them why you provide the best service or the best product in that particular market.

You can do that creatively but make sure you include your key phrase a number of different times. I would include a key phrase at least once every 100 words probably. It doesn’t have to be the same thing every time. If your key phrase is “plumbing services”…

A thesaurus is a great thing to use when you’re doing this because you can alternate your words.


Just like you’re saying. Google seems to be smart enough, am I wrong? Don’t they seem to be smart enough to pick up? They know the similarity of words.


So, you still seem to get the value for all that.

Yes. It will relate different search phrases even though the words are different.

Are different. Yes.

So, I would repeat your key phrases. You can do it in different variations and stuff but the idea is to really create a theme to the page. The theme to the page is whatever your main key phrase is. So, that theme should continue on through all the content in your page including the code, like we discussed, the images and the actual file name of the page, the file name of the image, so on and so forth.

So, a lot of service companies have a services page, “This is what we do.”


They list out their services. Is that good enough? I know it’s a great start but should they go deeper and have a page dedicated to each individual service?

Yes. That’s what we’d recommend and that’s generally what we do for our clients. Have a main service page. List all your services on that page in probably a paragraph for each service below that, just a simple description. All of that copy should be unique. We’ll go into further about unique copy here next. But all that copy should be unique.

Then each of those services, even though you already have a description there… I know you might feel that that should be enough, generally. Back in the day that was. But now you need to actually link the title of that service and that title is generally going to be a key phrase specific to that service. That should link to a page containing that key phrase and probably 300 words about that service and, again, those key phrases for that service would be repeated in that page.

Yeah, good. So I know we’re going to talk about copy, but one thing I really like is when you get to the service page, to have a video.


So video definitely sells. Video is great.

Video is great.

Since, we’re talking about rankings and getting traffic, does video help at all?

Yeah, absolutely. It helps in a number of different ways. A couple right off the bat, is customers like to feel like they can trust you, like they can give you their money and they are going to get a valuable service in return.


Part of the ability to see you on camera and see you speak to them directly – even though they might not have met you face to face and maybe they never will, depending on your business – you are building a certain level of trust there, just by putting yourself on camera. Putting yourself in front of them and sort of laying down way they can trust you and why they should give you their business. So there’s that aspect of it. It builds some credibility. It build some trust.

Yeah, exactly. Obviously [inaudible 00:30:06] huge.

Yeah. We’re both big fans. Then, there’s another aspect of that as well. Google pays attention to how long you’re on a page.


In a search result page, when you click on a result, Google is tracking the time between when you click on that result, go to the page, look at that page and how long you stay on that page. They can tell how long you stay on that page because if you’re going back, they know that you were on that page for only so long or two seconds or five minutes.

If they’re gone for a long time, which having a long video on there, we recommend at least 30 seconds, 2 minutes is great, helps keep people on that page. So if Google sees that people are staying on your pages longer, they think that your pages are important and that people are enjoying the content on your pages.

They’re finding it valuable.

Exactly. That is just another signal that helps increase your ranking. So, video is important in a number of different ways. We highly recommend it. Customers don’t necessarily like to be on video, but we always encourage them to do it. It’s so easy to do. Everybody has an iPhone 4 these days. Everyone has a phone that shoots great high-res video. It’s easy to do.

It’s easy to upload to YouTube. They host it for you. It doesn’t cost you any money. They’ll link it in. You get another link back to your site. Does that link count back to your site when you do it on YouTube?

I’m sorry?

When you post a video on YouTube, you link the video into your code on your site, does that count as a backlink?

Well, YouTube is a whole other story, but you would want to include a link to your website in YouTube. That would count as a backlink.

Right, okay. That’s true. Okay.

But people viewing the YouTube video within you site when it’s embedded, that would count as a view on YouTube too, which is also of value. But you would also want to, in regards to video, that’s another topic that we’ll talk about.

I got you off-topic a bit. We were talking about body copy there.


Then going into services and I was talking about embedding video.


So that was one. Let’s talk about the structure of the site, but before you do, you started to talk about blogging. I probably got you a little bit interrupted. I’ve got a question that I think it’s something a lot of people are going to be sold. That is, a lot of guys are telling you to subscribe to services where it’ll auto populate your blogs with content.


So, to Google it looks like you’re constantly updating your site but it’s really fake.


Is that good?

For a while you would see a lot of sites that would pop up and they would rank well doing that very same thing. Again, the Panda update, very big deal. It’s changed a lot of about how a lot of SEO companies did things. This duplicate content, identical content that pops up off of multiple sites is dong more to hurt website rankings than help these days.


So, everything needs to be unique.

The frequency that people should be posting fresh blog content to their site for maximum results?

That’s always going to depend on the competitiveness of your particular market.


But the more, the better. The more, the better.

Yeah. Consistency, does that matter any?

We would recommend doing it on a regular basis. That’s more for a sense that you want your visitors to come back and read your blog.

Keep them coming back, right.

Right. So if they can expect that fresh content is going to be there, they’ll come back looking for you. If you’re trying to do it yourself, it would probably be good for you to get on a schedule where you’re writing a blog post every week and you’re making yourself deliver one every Friday at 2:00 or whatever the case may be. So it might be good in that sense.

Okay, so now let’s go. So you’ve got one great thing about you guys and your company is, you, specifically, have a lot of programming experience, so you really understand structure.


So this is getting a little higher level, but does the structure, site maps, layout of the code, the HTML, does that stuff matter?

Yeah, it does. When it comes to those factors that relate to your website, the number one most important one would be the domain name that you choose. Something that we do for our clients, is we always recommend that, say it’s “Bob’s Plumbing Service”, again the plumbing example. Say his company is named…

“ABC Plumbing”.


Oh, you need something simple.

Well let’s use something a little more generic. Let’s say bobsmithcleansyourpipes.com. That’s his domain name, okay? So, what we would recommend is that they actually use their number one key phrase as their domain name. So let’s say Bob is doing business in Cincinnati, wherever. His number one key phrase might be “plumbers Cincinnati”.

We would recommend that he try and acquire the domain “plumberscincinnati.com”. That’s going to be the ultimate domain and if people search for that exact term, since he has a domain name that matches that exact key phrase, he’s going to get a huge bump from that. That right there is going to help him rank. So that’s something that we always recommend.

Yeah. So we should keep talking about structure, but I’ve got to ask. So, we’re both big believers in the multiple website strategy.


For one of my service companies I have about 40 websites probably. I’ve got a lot. I’m a big believer in it. Costs a little bit of money but it’s well worth it. Point, you gave the example of the Cincinnati plumber, whatever it was. Would that be his main website or is this only a strategy after you’ve first built out bobcleansyourpipes.com and then you do Cincinnati Plumber? What do you recommend there?

We would go for Plumber Cincinnati as the main site.

The main site.

The reason that we do that is because the main site is going to have the most backlinks. It’s going to be promoted the most across the web. There’s going to be multiple links to it coming from multiple places and we want that big boost in traffic that… We haven’t spoken about niche sites yet. But your main site’s going to get the majority of the traffic.


So, if we’re focusing the majority of the traffic at the site that has the number one key phrase in the domain name, it’s just got to make that all the more powerful in your search engine results page.


In Bob’s case, what we would do is we would let him keep his original domain name. We wouldn’t get rid of that. But we would do a redirect so when somebody types that in, it would redirect to Plumbing Services Cincinnati. We would even let Bob continue to put his original domain name on his business card. So his business card would still say bobsmithcleansyourpipes.com. But when people type that in, it’s going to go to Plumbers Cincinnati.

Yep. Great strategy. You can use it on your trucks. They could even do custom stuff like you could run a postcard and say, bestplumberincincinnati.com, when you send out that postcard to track the results. But it still goes back to the Cincinnati website.

That’s exactly right.

Great, great strategy. It’s easy. It doesn’t cost anything.

While we’re on the topic of domain names, this kind of goes back to, we just mentioned… I want to make a point, kind of, about unique content real quick. We kind of already mentioned how important it is to have unique content on your pages and how you’ll take a hit if you’re using duplicate content.

Actually, we’ve had a couple of clients come to us who already have a website and their websites aren’t ranking. They’re not working and we’ll look at their site. Just by selecting some words on the page and searching for those phrases and paragraphs in Google, we can see either they’ve copied their content directly from a competitor, maybe in another city or whatever. Or a competitor in another city has copied their content and is using it in their page.

That will have a negative impact on your ranking. But if you’re always updating your content and you’re aggressive about having fresh content, you don’t really need to worry about people stealing your content as much. But don’t copy somebody else’s. It’s going to have a negative impact versus a positive impact.

That also kind of lead me on to another point that we should mention. People have the idea that they can get multiple domain names and point them all at the same website.

And get the value of…

And get the value and they’re all going to show up in Google. That doesn’t happen. The way Google works, the way Bing works, if you have multiple domains pointing at the same website and everything’s identical Google and Bing are going to display one of them. It’s going to display the one that has the most links to it. So that’s not a good strategy. Don’t do it. It’s a waste of time. If you’re buying tons of domain names, you’re probably going to be wasting money.

To be clear, taking that just a step further, buying a couple of domain names and then copying the exact same website over, so each domain name point to one specific website that they’re just copies and you kind of eluded that, just as bad.

It would be the same thing as you pointing the domain names at the same site.

Completely useless.

Useless. Pointless.

All right. So structure, just a bit, so is there any else people… We’ve got things like Google Analytics. We’ve got site maps. We’ve got page layout. Anything you think wise to say about that?

Yeah. The structure of the site is important and that comes down to, this is going to be a little bit more advanced. It’s something that an SEO consultant would be able to help you with, the structure of actual code, the placement of the different elements of your page within the page. Google likes to see your most important links at the very top of the page. They’re positioned at the very beginning of your code.

The same thing with your key phrases, you want to have those at the very beginning of your page. That’s why we like to put them in the H1 tag right at the top of the page. Put your important stuff first, and your stuff that’s not so important at the bottom of the page.

What about you want all these links on your site to other pages, but you don’t really want your clients or prospects to see them because it could distract them so you hide them with a certain color or make them teeny tiny?

Don’t do it. Google is getting smart. They’ve been wise to that for a while. If it’s not detected immediately, it will at some point.


You will see a drop in rank. So don’t do anything to obscure what you’re trying to do to get a ranking in Google. Just do it right and write good content, good copy and then you don’t have anything you need to hide.

Part of this is about being a little creative, like we talked about earlier.

Yeah, definitely.

Making your headings work so they convert and they have the key words in them, being creative about your wording on your site. There’s a little bit of an art here in a sense to really be good at this.

Very, very true. Another thing I should mention is Google really favors simple sites. Google loves blogs. I mean, if you look at a lot of sites that rank really high, even big sites, even though they don’t necessarily look like a blog, the way the code is structured and the way it’s written very cleanly using things like CSS and different formatting languages like that, Google really likes that.

It keeps your code really clean so when Google spiders your site, all it’s seeing is pretty much content and some basic tags around it.

Good, good, good. I have had a lot of calls – you made me think of something here. A lot of calls where people will show us a website, so I’m kind of referring to Service Autopilot. We’ll have people show us a site and, “Oh, we love this site. We want something like this. Where can I go to get this?” and it’s Flash. So talk about that, maybe where it’s basically negative and useless.

Yeah, Flash is going the way of the dinosaurs. It’s slowly fading out. Obviously there’s a big brouhaha that Apple doesn’t support it. Microsoft, actually, in their new tablet, they’re not going to support Flash in that as well. That was just announced a couple weeks ago. That’s okay. There are new technologies coming out. HTML5 is coming out. It’s going to let you do all the things that Flash lets you do.

So Flash, we actually still use that in some of the client sites but we never, ever do an entire site in Flash. It’s useless.

Any negatives to using it in the top part of the site? Does it matter?

No. We use it as elements and if you look, a lot of video on the web is still Flash. That’s okay. We use Flash as an element on the page. But the page itself is going to be CSS and HTML and some JavaScript to add some interactivity. But here and there, when needed, we’ll use some Flash. There’s nothing wrong with including Flash animation but your entire site shouldn’t be Flash. It won’t be spidered. It definitely will not rank worth anything.

Yeah. All right.

Let me mention a couple other things they should keep in mind and this is a little bit more advanced. We also recommend for all the clients to use a site map. A site map that can be spidered, that would be an HTML page that people can actually see and you can link to that on your footer, that just makes is easier for the spiders to browse to all of your different pages. Also all the major search engines, Google, Bing, they love if you use an XML site map.

I won’t go into the details on exactly what XML is and stuff like that. It’s something that your developer should do for you and it’s something that your SEO consultant should be doing for you. But if you’re doing the site yourself, or you put up a website, make sure you submit it to the search engines. Because if you don’t have any links to your website and you haven’t it submitted it to the search engines, it doesn’t exist.

That’s true.

There’s no way that Google and Bing can find a site that isn’t linked to from another site, or you have it put into their index by submitting it manually.

Yeah, that’s good stuff. That’s a great point right there. All right. There’s more but those are the big things on the site. Earlier I kind of went off on a little bit of a tangent on backlinks just to make sure everybody knew.


Let’s come back around to backlinks just a little bit because it’s just so critical.

Okay. Yeah, this is, and again, a lot depends on the competitiveness of your market but backlinks are hugely important. How important they are is going to vary, not just on your market, but also on which SEO professional you’re talking to. There’s a lot of discrepancy and different tests that we’ve done have given us different results. So, there’s no way to really nail it down. It can really fluctuate.

But I don’t think it is a set number. Doesn’t it have to do with the competitiveness of your market?

It does because the number one competitor might have thousands of backlinks but the number two competitor might have two. So, you can rank about him pretty easily. But the number one guy, you’re not going to get above.


Right. So that’s something to keep in mind. But, basically a backlink is a link to your website from another website. The simplest way to describe how Google uses that information is to say that, think of a link to your website as a vote.


Links to your website are votes. They’re popularity votes and Google thinks that if a lot of people are linking to your site, in accordance with the content on your site being related to what people are searching for, it’s going to give you a boost over your competitors that don’t have as many links as you.

This is a big deal because it’s probably 50 to 80% of your ranking factor, but it’s also an extremely time consuming process. It’s not easy to get quality links back to your website.

Isn’t this where most of the money spent in SEO optimization?



Yes. There are a number of different ways to do it. This is a whole other video series on its own. But they’re very important and it’s something that we do aggressively but it also is something that’s very time-consuming.


Unfortunately, a lot of clients, a lot of small businesses don’t have budgets to do that. But the good news is you can still optimize your site, get a really well-done optimized site and compete and get some traffic and get some leads without doing a ton of backlinking, depending on your market.

If that’s all you can afford, you’ve got to at least do that. Then the backlinks so this is then what I get into, so I’ve talked about this before. This whole concept of having somebody work on your website and then just thinking you’re done with it.


This is why I really personally think most of the SEO companies out there are worthless. I’m not impressed. So they just take a monthly fee from you. But the good ones do charge a monthly fee, and they’re not just getting rich and pocking the money without work. Every single month they’re working on backlinks. It’s something you do every month. It never ends. I know for our sites, we’re always working on them.

Yeah, and the perception that we get from a lot of our new clients is that they’ll come to us and they’ll ask how much it is to optimize their site. We’ll be, well, we have monthly plans. We have yearly annual contracts. But we don’t do one site, one time. We don’t set it and forget it. We don’t go in a just optimize your site and then leave it and hope that it ranks well.

Search engine optimization is an ongoing thing. It’s something that we do every month and it’s something that you have to do every month. Even if you initially get some pretty good rankings and results, if you’re going to stay there, you have to keep doing this on an ongoing basis.

You’ve got to be creating fresh content. You’ve got to be updating your website. You’ve got to be aggressively getting backlinks. You need to be updating your testimonials, your reviews. Your website and your on-line marketing campaign should have a dedicated monthly budget. It’s something that you would do just like paying for airtime to run a commercial every month.

You have to dedicate funds to it. If you’re serious about it, you have to do it. If you’re going to think that you’re going to just optimize your website once and it’s going to automatically go up in the rankings and stay there, that’s not how it works.

Two ways to think about it, it’s not like it’s you… So, there are what, ten spots on the front page of Google roughly for organic, for the free results?

Yeah. Less if it contains a local listing.

Right. So it’s ten spots. You’re competing against, who knows how many people you’re competing against? The smartest ten people win. Crazy enough, so of the ten listings, a disproportionate number of clicks goes one, two, and three, especially number one. If you’re number ten, you’ll get clicks but it’s way less than being one, two, or three.

This is a constant contest. If you spend a little bit of money up front, “Hey, I’ve got some rankings.” Well, you’ve still got 900 other, 300 other companies that are spending money and they’re working their butt off to get to the top of the thing. If you just sit there, you’re going to lose.


The other thing is, as Andrew has talked about, Google, Yahoo and Bing, these guys are constantly working on their algorithms that determine rankings and trying to make them better, to get rid of all the junk. They want good search results because if the search results aren’t good, you’ll quit coming back and using Google.

So, it’s Google’s goal to make their results so good that you keep searching in Google. To do this, they try to get all the junk out of their system. So, they’re programming these changes. A company like yours, an SEO company and agency, you guys are all doing the same stuff. You’ve got to stay on top of all these changes in addition to competing with everybody else.

That’s exactly right.

So this is why the good agencies, the good SEO guys, they’re not screwing you over and just getting rich by pocketing your monthly fees. They’re working. A good one is doing that.

Exactly right and that’s why we don’t accept clients that come to us and just want us to do a one-shot deal. “We just want you to optimize our website. How much is it going to be?”

Those would be disappointed.

If you’re serious about your marketing, you want an on-line marketing plan, a whole schematic of things that need to be done on an ongoing basis every single month. That’s the only way you’re going to get to the top. It’s the only way you’re going to stay at the top.

Even if you get to those top positions, you’re not going to stay there unless you continue to do these things. More and more of your competitors are wising up and getting smarter and starting to take advantage of the very things that we’re doing for our clients.

Yeah. There’s a big marketing paper floating the web right now that says internet marketing is dead, SEO is dead. Is that B.S.?

It’s B.S.

All right. So what else should we talk about with SEO?

It’s a great topic. I’m sure a lot of people downloaded it.

He’s made a crazy amount of money, so he’s very smart. But he just spun it. It’s not really dead, even in the thing it’s not dead. He just spun it. But people hear that and wonder. So, anything else we should say about SEO?

I think we covered a lot of it. Some of these will break down into additional videos.

Yeah, we’ll go back around.

Because, this is a really in-depth topic.

This is where you’ve got to spend money.

We could spend hours just talking about on-page optimization. Backlinking is a whole other thing. The technique that goes behind that, that’s incredibly in-depth. But this is a good overview, I think.

Yeah, so just a note from my personal opinion on this. So, depending on who you talk to, everybody’s got a different opinion. Some guys say pay-per-click is more important. Some say SEO is more important. I personally think SEO. The reason being is, just from my personal experience, I have ran pay-per-click and I get good click-through rates and I’ve ran SEO.

If we’ve got pay-per-click running and SEO, I’m getting a top one, two, three ranking in SEO. I get more clicks on the organic, which we’ve been talking about the SEO-optimized sites, than I do on a pay-per-click ad. Second, we’ve noticed, and I can’t prove this but I’m positive of this, my SEO, my organic clicks convert better than my pay-per-click.

That would make sense. People are bound to trust natural results over an advertisement any day.

So that’s why, for me and the amount of money that we’re willing to spend on this stuff, my money, disproportionately goes to SEO.

We’ll get into the percentages of who’s clicking where and how many people are clicking where in another video.

Yeah. All right.

Andrew Pototschnik is the founder of Lawn Care Marketing Expert, the largest online marketing agency in North America specializing in marketing strategies for the lawn care and landscaping industries.

Google Partner
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Service Autopilot
Official Consultant of PLANET Conference