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Learning From Others

Aug 31, 2023

Today's guest is a former engineer at Yahoo who understands search engines second to none.

We talk about all the ways to run an agency wrong, hoping to teach you how to be successful and do it right.

He founded BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company that provides training and mentorship for aspiring entrepreneurs across the globe.

On a mission to create a million jobs internationally, please welcome Dennis Yu.

Dennis Yu, it's a pleasure. Welcome to the Learning from Others Show. How you doing, man? Good, Damon, and it's awesome hanging out with you again. I wish it was in person like we were driving race cars in Vegas. I. That was fun. You know, we got a couple stories we could probably hit. Um, you and I have engaged on mostly Facebook over the years and kinda got a little friendship going on and, um, yeah, I, I flew out and I, every time I fly out somewhere I try and kinda keep track of who's where and, um, I.

And meet up with somebody and establish a relationship a little bit better. So I appreciate the opportunity of you being willing to go hang out. And we did, we went and did a limo in race cars and um, I mean, you live in Vegas, but we, we did the tourist a little bit of the touristy thing. Yeah. Yeah. And, and thanks for taking the time.

That was such an honor. And you know, you're one of the few ss e o people out there. I know this is being recorded. You're one of the few ss, e o people out there that is legit and drives results. And I am not being compensated to say this. But I've been sharing this and I'm, I know people that are watching this and have seen my Facebook posts.

They're coming to you. Yeah, no, I appreciate that. It's, um, we'll probably talk 'cause you're legit about that today, you know? Yeah. Not, not about me, but about the industry. And, um, for, for me, that's been, uh, Good and bad to throw rocks at my own industry. Right? Like, it's unfortunate that that's such a valuable sales proposition to distinguish yourself as actually doing your job.

But, but it is. So why don't we, why don't we start there? So, um, actually before we get into it, um, let's, let's have you talk about yourself the most, uh, enjoyable, comfortable part of a podcast. Um, I, I actually like how you put it on the intake form when, uh, so I ask the guests, you know, what's your elevator pitch that we can use?

And Dennis just puts Google me. If we're talking about s e o and, and you don't have a knowledge panel show up when I Google you, you're a fat weight loss coach. Fat weight loss goes, where's, where's the analogy of a fat weight loss coach? Oh, fat, okay. Overweight weight, weight loss coach. That's overweight.

Got it. Yeah. Yeah. So Dennis, um, has been in marketing for how, how long have you been in marketing? 30 years. Yeah, how'd you get into it? And I was one of the original people, one of the first people at Yahoo. So I built the internal analytics at Yahoo. So I'm a search engine engineer, so I'm not an S E o. I am the person who's trying to protect the results from the SS e o people trying to trick us.

Yeah. Have you got jaded over the years knowing like how this works and being able to see the manipulation that's going on when it's not done for the right audience and the right users? Do you think that weight loss scams will ever go away? Every year there's a new scam, right? And people fall for it.

'cause they're just like, how do you not know that? It's a scam? Hey, if I take this one pill, you're gonna lose 30 pounds in 12 days. Like it's a scam, right? Mm-hmm. So the salespeople are always inventing new techniques. And I remember, this is like back in my day, we used to walk uphill both ways. I built websites by hand using Microsoft Front page.

It was engineers that were building websites, people like us that actually physically knew how to do the thing. It was before the marketing people and all that came in back then. You remember it was called web mastering. Mm-hmm. Before it became digital marketing and social media and influencer and all these other words that are now really just buzz words, new words for the same thing.

Mm-hmm. Right. And now I'm, I'm gonna blame the internet money Bross. Yeah. And the motivational speakers for now, all of them are ai. Experts and crypto experts and chat G P T experts and they're SS e o experts too. So all these people have come in in the last few years seeing easy money and now they're gonna start selling S E o.

I was a Josh Nelson seven figure agency conference and Josh Nelson's amazing. I love the guy. They're people that come into that program 'cause they think it's easy money. And in the program Josh teaches you should sell s e o, but he also says you should also deliver s e o too. You should also understand what it is.

Some agency owners, the guilty will be unnamed, are selling ss e o and they don't even know what it is, but they know that people want it and they need it. So they sell it for $2,000 a month and they're making all this money. This one company that I'm probably gonna release a full investigation later today is making three.

Well, they're, they were making last month, $320,000 a month off of 150 clients that are paying for s e o and Facebook ads and websites and things like that. It is a scam. There's no way to defend it. It's a scam, but it's a sales guy running it. He has no operations, he has no marketing. He's a sales guy and some of them even white label their stuff out.

So they have no idea what it is and someone else is doing it. They, the client doesn't know anymore. I mean, you know, they, but they're selling it 'cause they're salespeople. There's too many salespeople in the s e O space. Mm-hmm. We need more mechanics, not people in the car dealership wearing a tie. Slick hair saying all these things about the car.

We need more mechanics that actually have grease on their fingers, like you and me. Yeah. I mean, I often get asked what, um, what should I know as I shop s e o and, and I think that why people are so attracted to, to you know, you and your transparency is because it establishes trust when you're willing to go, Hey, you know, One example, s e o takes time, but here's why.

And then you explain it. Or, hey, not only here are the advantages of s e o, but here are the disadvantages because what they're getting pitched to you. You nailed it with the sales bros and not enough actual people doing the work is the majority of the time. These people that. Sounds smooth, are not the people that are actually doing any of the work.

So they're gonna tell you whatever they think that you want to hear. And so when, when I get asked, you know, what should I be, be looking out for? And I'd be curious, some of the things that are top of your mind is, is my first thing is transparency. Like, they should be able to communicate. You don't need to know, you know, the, the full granular details of, of everything that's going on, but you should be able to clearly communicate, you know, here's.

The intent behind why we're gonna focus on this thing in content, not just, we're gonna write stuff, you know? Mm-hmm. And what's, how, how are we gonna measure progress? Right. And how long is this gonna take and why? Yeah. But the majority of the people that are out there are just like, oh yeah, no, we'll get to it.

You know, we'll get there, you'll see. And it's just like these vague responses, and I think that's become a thing of, of. Beyond just ss e o, but you and I are, are in that space more so just marketing in general is these constant sales bros of it's yell loud or talk louder or be flashier. Mm-hmm. And the emotions overtake the sales process.

And then it doesn't matter, like right before we hit record, I was telling you about somebody that we're working with and they're killing it and the data shows they're killing it. But a, a sales bro got in their ear about, Hey, you need to be louder and flashier, and they're tearing it all down. Mm-hmm.

Yeah. The sales bross are focused on collecting the money. I. They'll make huge promises. They're, they don't even know whether they can hit those promises 'cause they're not operators. The fact that you are posting screenshots, of course you're masking out like the client name and the keywords and all that, but showing the increase in traffic and sales, not just ranking on more keywords.

'cause you can rank on a bunch of garbage keywords and claim victory. Yeah. We need more people doing what you're doing and actually teaching the techniques. Not that these clients wanna learn how to, you know, who wants to learn how to change a transmission or, but at least if you know that that guy who is an actual mechanic is posting videos of him as he's, you know, working on the transmission and got grease on his hands as he's working on the car.

There's a lot more trust there and especially if the mechanic shows what they're doing, right? I'd love to, you know when, when you go to a car or uh, you know the dealership and something's wrong with the car, they're gonna give you an itemized list. Of the things that are broken and what, and therefore the toll and you know, maybe the dealership will still overcharge you, but at least you know what they're doing, right?

Yeah. If you're buying a new car or not a new car. So Damon, let's say you're buying a, a car off of whatever, like Facebook marketplace and the guy says, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. It's always been in the garage the whole time and never been driven. And you see it's got 150,000 miles on it. I don't know if that's exactly true.

Oh, it's, it's never been in a crash, really. I don't know. It just looks like some of these. Here don't look like they were the original parts. Are you sure? Oh yeah. It's brand new. You know, it's, it, I don't trust, I just hate to be cynical. I don't trust what other people have to say. So if you're gonna buy a car, Damon from somebody, third party, are you just gonna take what that guy says or are you gonna have a mechanic check it out real quick?

Yeah. You, you're, you're doing the equivalent of an audit. Yeah. So I, you know, audits take two minutes. In two minutes we can spot all kinds of garbage. That you and I know, like buying a bunch of fake links or most commonly having done nothing. Yeah. And letting the, especially in a service-based business, letting the G M B and the reviews that are actually done by the client carry the weight and claiming credit for that.

Yeah. How dare you claim credit for something the client did? Yeah. And dressing it up as, oh well, Google's algorithm changes all the time and it takes a while and it's a mystery. And I can't tell you our methods 'cause they're proprietary, can't give you access to our systems. I hope you understand. It's such a big secret.

I'd have to kill you. Proprietary is one of, if the not top red flag for me, as soon as somebody says that in, in a marketing sales discussion, because we're all using the same dozen or two tools. Mm-hmm. It's just who knows how to use them most efficiently in which combination to deliver on the results.

Yeah. If any that you have mapped out into SOPs, Can you imagine if you ask a mechanic, so you're fixing my transmission. What tools are you using? Oh, it's prop tools. Using wrenches are secret. Yeah, yeah, I can understand if you're like Mrs. Field's chocolate chip cookies, but even they put their recipe out there as like a, a campaign to try to, you know, what was like a gorilla campaign?

'cause they, they planted that thing to try to make it popular. But I flew back from LA yesterday to Vegas and the pilot greeted me. I always liked to just have a quick chat with the pilot if I'm the last one on the plane. And can you imagine asking the pilot, so, um, How did you learn how to fly? A 7 27?

And he says, oh, it's a secret. I can't tell you. It's super proprietary. No, there's flight training manuals and all that kind of stuff out there. It's, it's public. In any field. If you're a doctor, hey, you're a heart surgeon and you're gonna do heart surgery on me, what scalpels are you using? Hell yeah.

Super proprietary, the scalpel and you know, it's the scalpel that I use. It's, you know what, you could be a heart surgeon too. If you pay me $10,000 and sign up for my weekend course. I'll teach you how you can be a heart surgeon just in a weekend, because I'm also gonna give you access to my proprietary scalpels.

It's the skill of who's using the scalpel. It's the, do you remember Mars Blackman and the Air Jordan campaigns? I think you're old enough to remember that. Uh, I never got in the shoes and think that, but that's No. Uh, but it, but so they had Air Jordan, you know, Michael Jordan, the most famous basketball player ever, and they were making fun.

It was, the commercials back in the eighties were hilarious. Mm-hmm. That Mars Blackman, who was Spike Lee would say, it's the shoes. It's the shoes. Got the shoes, Uhhuh. You could jump as high as Michael Jordan and hit your head on the rim, right? Yep. So do you think if I switched from Adidas to Nike that I'd all of a sudden be a better basketball player, do you think If like me doing ss e o, if I just switched from my primary tool to, you know, the proprietary ones or Majestic or Hfss or SEMrush, like, do you think that would matter?

No, it's all the same data. There's no proprietary, like you said. Yeah, it's, it's your skill. The other red flag for me is guarantees and, and my position on gu. Sure, they sound lovely. I get why they're attractive, uh, attractive to the consumer and attractive to sell. Um, and, and, and in some forms of marketing, maybe there's guarantees.

But in s e o there, there's so many abstract variables and, and wildcard that you should be able to communicate why they're variable in a wildcard and also communicate. Why you can't offer a guarantee on it. What you can do though, is you can communicate averages and expectations. Mm-hmm. You know, you can't guarantee you're gonna be on page one in 10 months, but you could say on average it's 12 months or whatever, give or take.

You can talk about the home runs that took four months. But to me it's a huge red flag. It it's a sales guy. Anytime I hear somebody saying there's a guarantee. As you talked earlier, it's the guy doing the sales and not the person actually doing the fulfillment and the guarantee in our space, what, what you and I are doing, it's competitive SS e o.

So for us to move from position five to position one, that means we have to get ahead of those other four guys. So we, we can't, we. Guarantee what those other four people are doing. Yeah, we can, we can guarantee our effort level, we can guarantee higher r o i because we can focus where there's less competition or where there's more bang for the buck by going, by changing our strategy.

Yeah. But we can't guarantee number one on Google for city name, you know, plumbing or whatever it is. Real estate city name. Yeah. Well, let's talk to, um, Let's talk to the aspiring agency owner and how they can avoid being part of our future discussions and how to approach. You do not want me writing an article about you in that I love writing articles about people, and they're either very positive, which is 99% of the time, like I love Uplifting You, Damon.

And then there's the 1% of the people that are outright scamming 'cause A, they're not delivering, and B, they know it. There's a lot of people that are unintentionally ignorant. And this is the advice that we're giving agency owners right now. You wanna take care of your clients. You recognize there's a lot of stuff that you'll never know as much as Damon Burton, but there's certain things you do need to know.

You've gotta learn the basic tools to see that rankings turn into traffic. That turn into sales. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And if you just generate, so there's one personal injury client that they were paying this guy. His name sounds like a whiskey. His first name is Jason. You can maybe figure out who it is. And he was charging this personal injury attorney $70,000 a month.

And what he did was upload a dictionary to the site on how do you get a commercial truck driving licenses. So they, you know, attorneys, they want truck driving cases. 'cause those are million dollar cases versus like fender-bender ones, right? They really want the truck driving cases. So, This guy was ranking on all these, these truck driving terms, but they're all like, how do, what are the, you know, how long does it take to get a commercial truck, uh, driving license?

And what is a C D L? And none of them had the intent of someone who got hit by a truck. Yeah. And this guy that was charging $70,000 a month, what he did was he was, he was creating 200 garbagey posts in a glossary every month. I told you about this one. Mm-hmm. We talked about this before. Yeah. And. The client who's wealthy and has made, you know, over a billion dollars, didn't know any better, but he suspect it's, you know, these guys are not dumb, but they don't know about s e o.

They're real smart and they, like, you don't wanna try to pull the wool over. Just because they don't know about SS e o doesn't mean they're dumb. Okay. They're, they can kind of, they're busy. Yeah. They're, they're good at the thing that they do, and you're good at the thing you do, and I get that, but, So this guy Jason was claiming, look at all the look we're driving, we're ranking on another 2000 keywords.

Yeah, but they're all garbage. And I looked inside the analytics and there is no more phone calls and no more cases being driven off of this s e o. All the cases from a search engine organic search standpoint, we're coming on. People searching for the client's name. This, this client is on TV, billboards.

He has more billboards in Kentucky than anyone else. He's all over the place, right? So they Google his name and, and then this s e o guy was claiming credit for this guy's TV ads and billboards. So my number one thing for people that your agency owners and your, you know, you need to offer, you can't just offer Facebook ads 'cause then you have a 90 day churn.

That's just unfortunate, right? Mm-hmm. You can't offer social media by itself unless you just wanna churn it out. You have to offer s e o, you have to offer some kind of P P C or whatnot to show that you can drive results. But the key is start with the results first. Yeah. Don't talk about all the s e o, whatever.

Start with you need more cases, you need more clients, you need more book jobs, you need more phone calls. And that comes from people that. Come to our website because they search on these certain keywords and here's the competition on those keywords. So most of these s e o people, they use the s e O tools that you and I know that generate that auto, generate these reports and put the agency's name on them, right?

Mm-hmm. Because why wouldn't, why wouldn't I wanna use these different tools that just send out reports to make it look like there's work being done? Mm-hmm. But that's not work that's being done. It's just showing rankings that go up and down. Hopefully the numbers are going up every month and if the business is doing well and they're taking care of their customers, even if you do nothing from an ss e o standpoint, those s e o numbers will go up, won't they?

Yeah. So don't rely upon rankings. Rankings are nothing compared to traffic. And traffic is nothing compared to sales. 'cause even if you drive more traffic, this one personal injury attorney was, was driving an extra, I forgot the number, but two or 3000 visits a month to their website. People that were looking to become truck drivers.

Yeah. And then that pollutes our remarketing audiences. 'cause we pay to remarket against people who come to the site. Right. 'cause all of those could be cases. So we're remarketing everywhere. 'cause of the pixels. Yeah. So s e o start, it sounds fundamental and it doesn't matter if you do Facebook ads or website building or email.

Start with the client's goal and what that's worth and then trace it back to what you do. Yeah. Like there's one client, they're a big personal injury. Firm for some reason. We got a lot of these PIs and they're spending 1.7 million a month on Google ads. Yeah. And they're also doing SS e o. They're using Ben Fisher for L S a I love Ben.

They're using Steve Wedeman for SS e o I love Steve. And there's more calls that are coming in. The firm has been growing, but they couldn't figure out where this. Cases were coming from because there's 10 different systems that have to be tied together. Hmm. And sometimes the in, in CallRail or, or RingCentral, we can automatically append where that call came from.

But sometimes we have to ask 'em. And a lot of what we call digital plumbing wasn't in place 'cause, you know, multiple LSAs and a different website for P P C versus one for the main firm for different reasons. So we had to tie all this stuff together and it was only last week. Outta this firm's 15, 20 years.

It's only last week that for the first time we're able to see Marketing Source. So if you're the agency, you've gotta be able to show that what you are doing goes all the way down to the bottom line where there's sales. And that means you often have to go into the call rail or into their C R M or whatnot.

What percent of the time Damon are SS e o agencies going all the way down to see that there was a sale that was occurring. And or do you think that's important? I think it's important, but not, you know, most people don't, uh, almost never. It's, it's mind boggling to me when I get on, uh, a lead call and they're with an agency already, and I ask them for basic stuff.

What, what are you currently targeting? What's been done today? And. I for, I'm 17 years into doing this and it still blows my mind like the first time. Every time when their reply is, I don't know what we're targeting. I'm like, okay, well what have they done to date? I don't know what we've done to date.

They just send me these flashy reports every month that said they did something. It is surprisingly, the majority of the time, and I can't wrap, you know, I have such a hard time with this because even though I see it so often, I can't put myself in that position to rationalize that approach. And so it's such a, it's like a twilight zone to me because I can't, I can't relate to it whatsoever.

Yeah. There's so many scams. I wrote an article like 15 years ago and I think it was something along the lines of, I mean we could Google it to find it, but you know how to, how to sell ss e o and I basically, it was a joke 'cause it was revealing the techniques and I said, you know, the best way. To win a client.

'cause these guys are all, all the sales bros are all about selling, selling, selling, right? They don't care about delivery. They just wanna sell. So I'm like, okay, you wanna sell? Here's the easiest way to sell. Before you go into that sales meeting, put up a blog post on a site that at least has a little bit of juice.

Like hopefully you have a blog that has some amount of trust and ha optimize it for a long tail keyword. So let's say that this is, uh, you're talking to a. Veterinarian. So then write a blog post that ranks for Boulder, Colorado, golden Retriever, toenail clipping tips. Mm. Right. How difficult do you think that would be?

Yeah, not at all. You were difficult to zero, right? Yeah. So write a blog post, make a video about it, rank for it, and then go in there. And say, yeah, you know, with S E O I even came prepared and I know you're a veterinarian. Go ahead and go into Google right now on your computer, on your phone and search Golden Retriever toenail clipping tips.

Boulder, Colorado, and like, oh look, we're number one. See? Yeah. Then if that doesn't work, 'cause sometimes it doesn't work, you know, sometimes whatever, sometimes your site has no power. Then buy that on Google. Buy that keyword on Google and Geotarget just to Boulder, Colorado on golden retriever, toenail clipping tips.

Exact match, right? And put a dollar a day on that campaign and say, go ahead and search. And then you could, ideally, they do a search on it and they see your ad and they see that you rank number one on that. That's fantastic. That's so funny. Yeah, because it's especially with local like you and I know with local, we're not talking about national golden retriever, toenail clipping tips.

We're saying in Boulder, Colorado. How many other people are writing articles about Golden retriever toenail clipping tips? No one. Yeah, no one. So with SS e o, I think so. To be clear, I know it's easy to rag on these ss e o people 'cause it like 95% of it's scam, unfortunately. But here's the good news. You and I know that ranking for local.

It's way easier 'cause you only have to beat the other people in Orange County, California that do whatever the thing is. You know, meds, liposuction, orange County and other Santa Ana and Newport Beach. Like that's, that's not competitive, but liposuction, if I like, how much effort would it be to rank on liposuction if I, you know, needed you to, to do that for some reason versus liposuction, small city name.

Yeah. Oh, it could, it could be a night and day difference depending on the location. Yeah. 'cause you, you also have to take into consideration the indirect competition. And I think this is something that, um, I don't, I don't really hear a lot of other SEOs talk about. I'm sure plenty of 'em know about it, but I.

What this goes into the transparency thing when you're explaining the realistic expectations to your client is you not only have to take into consideration the quantity of results that you're fighting against, but the quality of the big players that are in the way too. I mean, there's so many variables in in which you look at.

These results that, um, you know, I don't know where I'm going with this, but I think it's just, at the end of the day, it's, you can't outrun your reputation. Right? And so these, these people that say sells over service, right? And, and just like you said, where it's just, just sell more is, is the solution that won't last forever.

And then, and then what are you gonna do? Yeah. Reputation's everything I think. I'd be curious to see if you agree, but I believe that pro-level SS e o is indistinguishable from pr, reputation management, social media, whatever it is, because it's other people that are credible in that particular topic that are talking about you co-creating content like we're doing here.

And that's showing up on reputable industry specific websites, not like random websites that happen to be DR. 73. About websites that are authoritative and rank on those keywords in that industry. So if you build those relationships, if you have that expertise and you've done a great job, then your reputation's great and your SEO's great.

I don't know how, how someone could have great s e O in a competitive area and not have a great reputation as if me at Google, well, I was at Yahoo, but a lot of my people I trained went to Google as if we couldn't tell. Who is legit and what links were real or not, and if that content was generated by chat PT or you know, if it didn't have, maybe we can't tell if it was autogenerated, but we can certainly tell if it has pieces of experience in there as part of eat.

Yeah. You know, you know, maybe what you and I should do is create, um, an ss e o escrow validating company. Oh. I do that all day. Where it's like, you know, we don't want your business, we just want to, you know, we charge a consulting fee to protect you, help vet which your choices are, you know, bring us a three.

You're considering, and we'll tell you the pros and cons of all of 'em. There we go. Thanks everybody. I would love to do that. Yeah, that, I mean, I've been doing that for 20 plus years. How many friends have you had coming saying, you know, Hey, you know, can you just like look at my s e o real quick? I, I'm sort of suspicious every day.

That's like a, a dude saying, I think my, I think my wife's cheating on me. Do you think like, if they're ha if they're having to ask, I think you know what the answer is, right? Yeah. Every day I had, uh, co comes and goes, uh, in higher quantities, uh, on certain days, but it is nearly, I've had three, it's, we hit record at 1:00 PM today and by 1:00 PM I had three just today that asked me that.

Yeah. I've had 35 in the last 10 days. Yeah. Yeah. And it's consistent. Yeah. And I help most people for free. Like there's this one that hit me up literally just 15 minutes ago and I'm looking at their text. Hey Dennis, my name is Chris. I'm a friend of so-and-so. She gave me your number in regards to an SS e o audit I was hoping to get done on a site I'm working on.

And then there's some specifics there. I'd love to chat if you're free. Anytime. Yeah, I'll, when we're done, I'll call him back. I'll take a look at the site and in three minutes I'll tell him what's going on. Yeah. Yeah, because you and I are mechanics, we pop open the hood, we take a look, we hook up the diagnostics, and we're like, okay, here's what's actually going on with the car.

Why don't we talk about, you know, you, you just made the comment that you'll, you'll usually help 'em for free. Um, as do I. And a lot of times the, the industry will tell you to do otherwise. It's, it's charged. They're sales oriented, and yes, your time is valuable and like, I'm not gonna get on a whole hour call.

I'll just do a, a look at a couple quick things and because I think that, I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I think s e o is, is now verticalized. It's better to, if, if I know a lot about liposuction, I can do li, I can do ss e o for liposuction, doctors all over the place. I'll just have a competitive advantage over all the other people like.

Over people like you and me that are just like good generally, but we also know certain categories. You've been doing 17 years, you know, a number of categories by now. But I think that when people come in and I do a quick audit, like any of us can do this, looking at the basics. Mm-hmm. It's easy to do the analysis.

Doing the work is different. I'll pass them to someone that I know, like I'll pass 'em to you. Mm-hmm. Or I'll pass them to someone that's really good in that particular industry for real estate agents. For insurance brokers, for e-commerce, for like whatever, right? And the days when 25 years ago, you, you, you could be a generalist, but I feel like you have to be vertically specific if you really want to be world class.

It's, it's literally minutes. Yeah. I mean, yeah, why not? Why put the berry up? Yeah. Literally, you're right. Two minutes I can, I can audit someone at two. And I've done this like we did one last week for the city of San Francisco and the small Business development center, which is this nationwide thing, part of the S B A and people were signing up.

We had a whole bunch of people on Zoom and I just did audit after audit after audit. People love doing it. We've been doing it now for 18 months 'cause they started it up in the middle of Covid and we've been doing it every month. It's great. Yeah. Free audits. Why not? Not selling anything, but people say, oh, can you recommend someone to, you know, my website's on Wix.

Okay. Go to Upwork and use the job postings that we have on converting and, and here's the job posting. This is my website. It's on Wix. I wanna move to WordPress. Here's another guy's website. Don't copy it exactly. But can you make it like that and host it on WP Engine? And I wanted to meet this other criteria.

We have website, we have criteria. You can literally Google it, like website audit checklist, blitz metrics, you'll see. And, and it also has to fit this criteria. How much? $300. Okay, cool. This guy's 95% and has 200 ratings, and his earnings are $200,000. Like he's in Pakistan. Okay, fine. Sure. $300, let's do it.

Right? Yeah. And we teach people how to hire VAs and how to hire people in Upwork, in Fiverr. But the data that you get is, is infinitely, it's worth more, more than that. I mean, you're, you're buying so much wisdom in such a compressed amount of time to make a long-term decision. Yeah. And so if it's a, it's a Fortune 500 company, I'll say, okay, it's a power hour, go to blitz and we have an onboarding process because they don't want just three minutes of my time.

I'll give anybody three minutes of my time. 'cause it's just, it's too rude to say no and I'm important or whatever. I'll just give you three minutes of my time. Fine. Right? Mm-hmm. I'll prerecord it so it doesn't require being live. Yep. But if it's a, well, yeah, it's a well-known company, then I'm like, yeah, it's 15 hundreds, nothing for you.

Mm-hmm. So we'll do that. And we had one two weeks ago and they bought that and they said, yeah, you know, we really are struggling. Can you help us? The s e o agency is playing games and like, yep. I already know what they're saying. And now we have a large contract. Yeah. So the 1500 led to, it was basically like a paid sales call.

Yeah. If you're an agency, know that when you do, when you do it the right way, you just, you provide value, whether it's free or charged, or you know, you will drive more real clients because they trust you. Yep. And, and from my perspective, uh, I've talked about how there's only three types of content consumers.

So the, the, and this is why you should give away your, your content for free or, or give your time as as availability permits. So consumer number one is the person that takes your advice and runs. Okay. Well they were never a client anyway, so you didn't lose them, but now you increased your reputation and your reach.

Right? And then content consumer number two is somebody that may not need what you offer now, but knows somebody that does or they come back later, or three is they buy. Mm-hmm. So from my perspective, you have no losing reason to not just give away. All the answers for free, right? 'cause I want the person that values time more than money.

So if, if they can implement it, I'm happy they made progress with it. Otherwise, you know, we, we, we establish trust, we establish credibility, and then when it makes sense, it, it just eliminates the sales walls. They would've been a horrible client to begin with. So we call those free tarts, right? You're a D I Y, you're gonna try to do it yourself.

Save every penny. You know, you go and get your own groceries. I have the freaking ghost groceries delivered to me from Costco. I'm not gonna be a driver of like, I, you know, so those pe you give away your information for free because you don't want those kinds of clients to come to you. 'cause they're just gonna complain.

They're nightmare clients. They're gonna, they're cheap. You know, you all. But I can get that for way less from the Philippines. Yeah, you go do that. Yeah. Yeah. Well, um, I think you and I could talk indefinitely, um, about a variety of things, especially this in this, this topic of the industry. Um, now, now as we get kind of closer to wrapping up, let's, let's kinda take the opposite approach.

Um, so we've kind of, we've kind of beat up on our own industry a little bit. Um, let's, let's kinda help the aspiring, um, Agency owners with some, some wins, right? So we've said, don't do these things, which I guess imply the opposite of do these other things. But, um, you know, how did you start to build up your reputation?

How did you start to get your foot in the door? How did you start to earn the trust of people? So we can kind of maybe end with a couple little tips there on the high note. So I believe that, you know, when I was a, a young adult and I. I didn't even speak English, you know, until I was seven. I always felt that I wasn't good enough and I felt that all these other people were so much bigger and better than me.

And I remember going to Pubcon and Kevin Lee of did it was speaking. And this guy started analytics company. He's well known in the world of SS e o, and I thought, wow, this guy's like a God. I would love to be able to do SS e o and all this, but I don't think I'm like him. He's so well spoken and just everything about him.

I just worshiped this guy. Now, I was an engineer at Yahoo and I was a great engineer, but I didn't know how to communicate and. I didn't know if I could make promises to the client. 'cause you know, I wanted to make money as an agency 'cause on my way, you know, as I was about, about to leave Yahoo. And, but I didn't, you know, I knew I'd work really hard and I knew I was honest and ethical, but I, I, I didn't wanna go out there and just start making promises 'cause there's a chance I couldn't deliver.

So, you know, I would tend to not say anything or tend to not. I put myself out there 'cause I thought all these other people are out there just aggressive, fast talking salespeople didn't wanna be like that. 'cause I heard so much the garbage, like what we talked about. And then I realized, you know, there are clients, if you find the right clients that they will, it's like night and day.

So when we had Quiznos as a client, Hmm. They were a fantastic client. They weren't the nightmare where they're, every day they're like checking their rankings and asking what's going on. And they paid us a lot of money, and I find that if you're an aspiring s e o and you're growing, it's yes, obviously learn from people like Damon and keep improving and work hard and have great operations and all that stuff, but I think client selection is the most important part.

When you have the right client and you're transparent with them and you have a relationship with them, and you, you, you go out to dinner with them, maybe if you could meet them, right? It's just so much better and it results in retention and you feel good about what you're doing. And then you have 'em on your podcast as you start to have results and they love to talk about you.

Like we did this for the Golden State Warriors, the basketball team. And I loved working with the Golden State Warriors. They treated us so well. I got to meet Steph Curry and hang out in the locker room and go to the playoff games. They paid us a lot of money. And here's the, the thing that may seem too far away for most younger ss, e o people, I put them on stage.

I was given the opportunity to speak, to be a keynote speaker at one of the largest conferences in Europe. The last year's keynote was Richard Branson. And they wanted me to be keynote, and I said, no, no. Instead of me being the keynote, I wanna put the head of marketing from the Golden State Warriors, the very popular basketball team as the keynote, and I'll introduce 'em.

Right? And that worked wonders. There was a case study that was done by Facebook on us. So your reputation carries everything. The relationships that you have, interviewing your clients, interviewing other people that are competitors, you know, maybe Damon or I are competitors. Not really. 'cause there's plenty out there for all of us.

So by having the abundance mindset that enables us to be able to share what we've learned and elevate other people like, wow, Damon just wrote this great article. I'm gonna share it. I don't if he generates more clients because of that, that is fantastic. It doesn't have to come to me. Most of my posts that I put out there on Facebook are elevating other people and how awesome they are.

I think that's hard to do if you're small and you're not making money. You're like, oh, I want every dollar that comes my way 'cause I need every penny to pay rent and whatnot. I get it. But if you change your mindset, this is the last I'll say about this whole like motivational speaker walk on Kohl's, Tony Robbins kind of thing.

But I found if, and I wish I knew this 20 years ago, that. If I spent more effort honoring and elevating other people in the industry that will drive me more of the right kind of clients that I want, even without me talking about my expertise or what I know or how good I am. I closed five clients last week on SS e o pieces because I was elevating, you can go back to my Facebook mm-hmm.

And figure out what it was. But by elevating other people that are well-known. Industry. I interviewed yesterday on my podcast, one of the top content marketing experts, and she's a big deal at LinkedIn that's driving my reputation up. People buy based on your reputation. It's all based on your perceived authority.

That's why clients buy if you're a sales minded person. The perceived authority gives you the opportunity to get the right client. And then, like you said, Damon, those three, three categories, when you do the audit, figure out which one they are. Mm-hmm. And if they're great, then you have to deliver. As long as you can deliver, then you're great.

Right? And so I approached from the standpoint of I learned how to deliver first as a search engine engineer. So I feel like Damon, I'm credible to talk about ss e o 'cause I'm one of the few people that actually worked at the search engine and you know, like I have a good opinion about this thing. I have some credibility here.

And so now it's easy for me to audit. It's, I've done this enough times, I've learned from, from other people. So I would hang out in, in like London. Singapore with Rand Fishkin and his mom, Jillian, who's the one who's really running the show. Mm-hmm. And you know, we're putting together s e o presentations, we're hanging out with the conference organizers, and I realized these are these people that I thought were gods, were humans too.

Kevin Lee, who I told you was the guy I worshiped before he, he invited me on his podcast twice. And I said, I said to him on the podcast, I can't believe you can even Google it. And see, this is what I said. I can't believe I'm on, I'm hanging out with you, Kevin. I mean, this is a guy, like when you were done speaking on stage and then all the people would come up to you, I, and I'd never get a chance to talk to you like, oh, one day I'd love to talk to Kevin Lee.

And here I, here you are reaching out to me to be on your podcast. What the heck is going on here? He said, no, no, no, Dennis, I'm just honored to be spending time with you. And then he said all these great things about me. And I said, this is being recorded, isn't it? Yeah. But maybe, you know, if you're doing ss e o and, and you feel like you don't know as much as Damon or whatnot, you know, sometimes you, you have to step back and look at how much you know.

So when you interview someone or someone else interviews you, you realize like, oh wow. I actually have come a long way. I've actually learned a lot. That puts you in a, in a position of gratitude and you honor your clients and you're not worried about poaching, you're not worried about other people that do s e o I help other people that do s e o for a living.

I'm, you do that too, Damon. Mm-hmm. Does that hurt your business at all in any way? Not at all. It helps your business. So we have a lot of clients do that. We do s e o for, and still I'm talking about Damon and I'm sending people to Damon and it doesn't hurt me at all. Yeah. And, and it, it only, it only helps.

And, and when Dennis says he, 90% of his posts are about lifting other people up. He, he's very literal. It's. Probably 90% or, or plus. And it's just, you know, it's not necessarily contact creation, but documentation of Yeah. What you're doing and the engagements and the people that you're connecting with. Um, and, and I actually just made a post on LinkedIn this morning about, um, on the same topic, there's somebody who I've been mentoring and.

I send them business. Right? Yeah. Because then it helps the the person that I connected them with to finally get somebody that can support them morally and ethically, and then it helps a young aspiring entrepreneur to build their business up and then they're going to reciprocate the other way when, when it's a client that's a little bit outta their league.

Yeah, but it's a, it's amazing to watch for, for me, the, the part that I find most fascinating, obviously, yeah, sales is great. Um, growing is great, but the Wild Card is, is always what I find the most fascinating and rewarding, where you get a relationship that you didn't expect or an opportunity to, to meet or do a thing.

You know, just like you said, you, you got to go, um, in the locker room, meet Steph Curry, just like those things that. You, you didn't have on your to-do list. But then when it happened, it was such an amazing thing. That's what I find the most rewarding about serving and helping others and, and just being moral and transparent.

Yeah, serendipity. And you build these relationships over time and they start to unlock other things. And in finance, this is called a, a real option. So by having the Golden State Warriors as a client, we then were able to work with the N F L. Yeah, and the N B A and all these other sports teams came calling, and I never would've realized.

I guess in hindsight it's like, well, yeah, obviously you're promoting how awesome the Golden State Warriors are. Facebook wrote a case study. Mark Zuckerberg mentions you on stage, you know, and how we got a 39 r every dollar got $39 back of what we invested. Of course that would've happened, but you never at, in the moment, you're not thinking about that.

Mm-hmm. So really when you, when you have great relationships that for you young s e o people focus on the relationships, focus, make sure your communication is great. The ss e o people have a reputation for being geeks that don't communicate. Be personable. You, you sent me some cookies, Damon. Wow, that was so awesome that that was serendipitous.

I enjoyed that. And that that's just building relationship. Checking in on people, clicking like on their posts and delivering great work leads to so much more. The referrals that you get from your existing clients are worth more than any marketing you could ever do. You do a good job of that. You never need to do marketing.

Uh, I, I'm 17 years in and this is the first year I've considered spending a dollar on advertising. So the entirety of this multimillion dollar business has built, uh, purely on reputation and results because you've earned it. You have the perceived authority and you have the actual authority. Yeah. Well, Dennis, um, I appreciate, uh, that I, I just love talking to you.

You got a good vibe. Um, it's good to be in company with somebody else who's transparent and straightforward. Um, I did not pay Dennis to say kind things about me, but I greatly appreciate them. Are you giving me a commission at all? No, I, because 'cause I believe in you. Yeah. And you've, you've taken the effort and I've taken the effort to build the relationship over years and people can tell.

Yep. Yeah. And then once you get in, as you just started talking about with Golden State Warriors and then other professional sports teams, when you get in with somebody, you know, I'm not gonna refer anybody to somebody that I won't put my name behind. And I'm sure you feel the same way, right? Yep. And so when you get in and you establish these relationships with people at high level, they, they have a, a.

A, a circle of trust, right. That you get exposed to once you establish your authority and your ability to deliver. So, I mean, there's so many different, to kind of wrap this up on the, the thing of, you know, you can't outrun your reputation and you can't outsell your reputation. You can probably get pretty far in the beginning by focusing on sales and not reputation.

Yeah. Uh, but eventually you hit that. Amplifier of, of reputation where it begins to go tenfold times tenfold, times tenfold. That you couldn't spend, I mean, you couldn't have bought your way into a relationship with the Golden State Warriors. No. Because they get three calls a day from people that are offering ss, e o, and P p C and all kinds of magic promises.

Yeah. You know, funny. Um, I got to work with, uh, Utah Jazz on their retail division, team store. Same thing. Came from a relationship. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. If you're, if you're a player in the game, you wanna be here long term, focus on relationships. If you just wanna make some quick money now focus on sales, but you'll, you'll be run out and then whatever the next new thing is, you'll do that in a year or two.

But if you wanna be like Damon relationships all day, I know like people say that all day, but I, I promise you that's the thing. It's not sales calls. It's not the cold email. Magic blasting using ai. That's not it. Yeah, Dennis, you blitz metrics. Uh, how can people get ahold of you, learn more about you? They can Google me and they can see a full knowledge panel and whatever your favorite channel is, and I respond to everybody.

It's not a va, it's me. It might take me a few days, but I, you know, LinkedIn's probably the best way to reach me from a business standpoint. Well, Dennis, you blitz metrics, Google m Dennis, last name, y u. It's been a pleasure looking forward to meeting up again and doing our thing wherever that is next time.

Awesome Damon. Appreciate you