This episode features guest Shane Barker, founder of ShaneBarker.com, where they specialize in SEO, Influencer Marketing Services, Content Marketing Services and Online PR Marketing Services. Shane is a professional speaker and the host of the Marketing Growth Podcast
Discover what it takes to rank well with SEO in today's environment. In this episode Shane reveals the current state of SEO and what you need to think about when optimizing your organic content.
Want to crush your competition? Shane has been doing it for his brand and his customers for years through free organic traffic. Learn how he does it including what software he uses for his company as well as his private clients.
Finally, discover what you need to know when you are thinking of hiring an SEO agency in order not to be scammed in an industry filled with shysters including how to reverse your numbers and make sure the squeeze is worth the juice when it comes to your SEO investment.
Episode Action Items:
You can find more information regarding Shane by visiting www.shanebarker.com. Visit his website to request his newsletter or connect with him on Linkedin or Twitter by searching for Shane Barker.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal, who was recently named to the Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Fascinating 100 List, is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series and Founder of Make Each Click Count University found at https://www.makeeachclickcountuniversity.com.
He is a certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience and counting helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal visit https://www.trueonlinepresence.com, read the full story on his blog at blog.trueonlinepresence.com or shop his books on Amazon or at https://www.makeeachclickcount.com.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast and on Make Each Click Count at https://podcast.makeeachclickcount.com.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.
Andy Splichal 0:02
Welcome to the Make Each Click Count podcast. This is your host, Andy Splichal. We are happy to welcome this week's guest to just discuss today's topic, which is Breaking Through the Online Clutter SEO and more. Today's guest is here representing shanebarker.com, where they specialize in SEO influencer marketing services, content marketing services and online PR marketing services. He is a professional speaker and the host of the Marketing Growth podcast. A big hello to Shane Barker. Hi, Shane.
Shane Barker 1:20
Hey, what's going on, Andy? How are you doing?
Andy Splichal 1:22
I'm great. Well, thanks for joining us.
Shane Barker 1:24
Absolutely, man, I was excited when you reach out to me, I'm a fan. I was like, Oh, now I gotta be on the show. I'm looking forward to this.
Andy Splichal 1:30
Awesome. Well, let's start here. Let's start talking about SEO and how it's changed over the years. I remember when Panda and Penguin updates. Before that all you really needed in terms of getting great placement were optimized Titles and Meta Tags. But you know, this is a long time ago, that's the early 2010s. What is needed today to rank well organically?
Shane Barker 1:53
No blacks. And when you talk about 2010 and earlier before Panda and all the other Penguins and all the other fun stuff, those are the those are the good old days, man, that's you know, it was it was simple back then it was, you know, you just go and you put something up and you optimize a little bit, we didn't even barely know what optimization was. But we were like, Let's try this and put a little meta tags up there a little page titles, and all of a sudden magic was happening, it was awesome. And then all of a sudden, everybody started to realize how to do that. And Google as they do started to understand what we were doing and how we were doing things and switch things up a little bit for the user experience. And so I think, you know, when you look at it today, when you look at what it takes to be number one for SEO, it still goes back to a lot of the same core things that haven't changed for a long time, it's going to be obviously great content, right? You gotta be putting out epic content. And you know, make sure that it's original content that you're created. And once again, doesn't necessarily have to be, you know, original ideas, there can be some of the same ideas, but you can obviously, you know, put it in different, you know, redo the content and do it in different ways. But links, obviously, another big thing, right, that we talked about, links can always be, you know, it's always been probably one of the the main things in regards to content, or at least in regards to SEO, that you can help you rank obviously, you know, anytime we, anytime we get an idea of what Google needs from us, then there's always us as marketers, I always see marketers ruin everything, right? And then we come in and try to figure out how we're gonna get more links. And so you know, that's, you can kind of go back and forth on that. I've talked about the quality of links, and how you know, what kind of links you want to get, and we'll probably talk about that a little further on along the podcast. The other thing I think you need to do to rank well these days is really, you know, there's software. And when we were doing this, you know, a long time ago, 1015 20 years ago, probably more 15 years ago, probably, you know, there wasn't a lot of software, you know, we were kind of eyeballing stuff and looking at things and trying different things. And it was kind of we call it the wild wild west. Now, you have software's there's a lot of different types of software's that you can use to be able to look at once again, either competition, look at your own things you've got going on. Obviously, Google Analytics is you know, to be able to get your own profiles and you know, backlinks and which articles are doing well, where people are exiting, all that kind of stuff. But really software looking at your competition and understanding what they're doing, looking at their backlink profiles looking at, you know, how much traffic that you know, that we think that they're getting in regards to certain articles and certain keywords. What is it going to take to outrank them. I mean, there's all kinds of awesome software, each one of them I have access to, I'm not going to name all off because we don't have enough time here in the podcast, but
Andy Splichal 4:14
Well, yeah, give us give us a couple of what are the ones that you would recommend for someone wanting to try to optimize their own website?
Unknown Speaker 4:21
Yeah, so I mean, Semrush is a we've always been a big fan of Semrush for a long time on Ahrefs is something that we've used historically for a number of years. Definitely surfer SEO has been a good one that we've seen some great results from once again for optimizing content or or revamping content has been awesome so those are going to be probably my three staples obviously there's majestic there's I don't know there's there's so many different ones. I mean, each one of them we use kind of for different things and kind of figure out you know, what are the strong points of each one of them because it becomes difficult to be awesome at everything right? Obviously they always want to try to be awesome at everything so they can charge more and add more features and you know, keep you on longer as a client. But but for each one I think we have it's kind of its own specific thing that we've realized over the years that we think that's where, you know, where it has a kind of the thing that it has that it does best. Right? I think that it kind of specializes in that it seems to do that has done historically well for us, whether it be you know, looking at Keywords search volume, or whether it be looking at you know, backlink profiles, something like that works, spitting out what we feel is good data.
Andy Splichal 5:21
So in your agency are using multiple software licenses?
Shane Barker 5:26
Yeah, yeah, we absolutely do. Yeah, we have multiple site licenses, you know, because once again, we have so many different clients and different things that we do for each one of them. Some of them, we either a will do more of like a managed services where they can actually will recommend that they get the software and then we'll show them how to use the software where eventually we're kind of working ourselves out of a job. And then sometimes clients are saying, Listen, I don't want to take this on, this is something that I would rather you take it on, you just give me reports, tell me what's going on and kind of give me a high level of how things are going and what are the next steps and what needs to be done.
Andy Splichal 5:55
But I mean, are you using different companies? Like you're using the SEMrush? You're using?
Shane Barker 6:01
Andy Splichal 6:01
Some of the. Oh, okay.
Shane Barker 6:02
Yeah, we absolutely are, yeah, we've got a number of them. Like I said, we I have access, because I do so many reviews on my website on shanebarker.com. We do a lot of reviews for the software. So I am very fortunate in the sense that I get usually get free access, because they want me to write a review. And so what I do is I get a chance to take a look at the software's I mean, there was a certain point where I think I had access to like 90 softwares and which was just a crazy, I finally had my team run the numbers. And I was like, I have 90 pieces. I've 90 pieces of software that I could be using at any time, not just for SEO, obviously for influencer marketing, content creation, there was a lot of them, but it was kind of funny to have access to that many software's and be we were probably using about half of them for obviously different things that we do.
Andy Splichal 6:42
Now you had mentioned the fresh content, fresh, unique content and backlinks. Could you give a percentage, what is more important? I mean, what what percent would you give to the content and what percent would you give to the backlinks?
Shane Barker 7:00
Yeah, that's a great question. I you know, it's a little difficult. I would say, some people might disagree with this, but I would say 60% content, 40% backlinks. And the reason why I say that is because obviously without great content, it's going to be difficult to index, right? If you're writing just subpar content and you're adding backlinks, it's gonna be an uphill battle. If you're writing phenomenal content and just add a few backlinks, there is an opportunity to out index, some people that have a lot more backlinks. So I think quality of content is is a huge factor. Let's get backlinks is I would say I was gonna say equally, but I guess it's not equal because I said 60-40. But it's still up there. I mean, backlinks are going to be important for obviously relevant backlinks. And then obviously making sure that they're high authoritative websites that Google looks up to making sure we're not doing anything spamming link farming or anything funny like that.
So what would you consider to be good SEO? What would you do if a client came to you and had this going on? You'd say, Well, you're in pretty good shape.
Yeah, I mean, we just look at, you know, obviously, you know, anything on page when we're talking about, you know, looking at meta descriptions, page titles, just just the basics, to see where they're at, seeing what keywords, if they're going after a certain keyword for each piece, each of each page they have on their website, you know, we always figure out, you know, I tell people that for every page you have on your website, that's a piece of real estate on Google, right. And you really want to make sure you're optimizing for that. So and trying to figure out if there's a keyword that you should be going after, for certain terms, obviously, your homepage is going to be your strongest page. So what we look at there is, you know, what is the number one keyword that you want to be number one for, you know, assuming that it makes sense. And then we want to we want to optimize that for the homepage. I mean, really, the way I look at, you know, websites and look at websites is, you know, only what I want to do is I want to create content, obviously with intent, but I want to create content that index is well aligned, and what content that you know, is going to be driving people that don't know about my company don't know about my services, or know that my client services, that's really the goal of it, right? I mean, it's awesome. If somebody's looking up your, your, you know, your brand name, and you're gonna always usually you're going to be number one there, because it's your brand name, assuming it's not an extremely common name, you know, like, I don't know, like people or something like obvious definitely, for People Magazine could be a little difficult, because there might be other websites out there that index well, for that. But, you know, in regards to like Shane burger.com, I mean, I, you know, I went out of my way to make sure there's there's about 10 chambers in the United States that I know of one was a legislator, one was a DJ, I made an effort to do everything I could to, to push them out of the way to make sure that I was number one. So, you know, it really comes down to you know, having a good you know, when we talk about implementing good SEO today is going to be obviously amazing content, a great distribution channel, right, that means you're distributing the content through social media through other avenues. Maybe you have groups that share content. And the goal is this is if you have great content for SEO, that's awesome. And you know, maybe it'll take a little while to rank depending on what type of keyword you're going after. But what you really want to do is you want to be able to distribute that content. We have some of the best products in the world that don't have good marketers, so nobody knows about it. You have some of the worst products in the world that have amazing marketers, and we all know about it. So it's the same thing with SEO, you want to write great content, obviously you want to get make good backlinks as well. But you really want to get that distribution out there to get more people to get used to come in and seeing your content and driving that traffic hopefully, you know, often you know, through you know, searching through social but also through search.Andy Splichal:
Now you realize those other nine Shape Barkers probably don't like you.Shane Barker:
They hate me. Yeah, I'm surprised that I'm still alive. I've had a few black vans pull up in front of my house and I'm, I'm ready I've got you know, butter knives and stuff all around the house. I'm ready for an all out SEO war if if somebody wants to take the Pepsi Challenge, but yeah, you know, it is funny. Like I literally do know, pretty much almost all the Shane's there was a guy in New Zealand that got murdered. I mean, there's I literally know all the Shane Barkers like it's crazy. Yeah, I'm, I'm a little over the top I you know, I pride myself in being, you know, the SEO game to me is is awesome. And I love doing it. But I am a little bit of a I'm a little I like a challenge. You know, and we and I, it's funny, I won't say any names. But there's some people like online that I that we're competitors. And we're actually really good friends. And like when we go and speak at events, we'll talk shenanigans onstage and offstage and say, Hey, I noticed you guys are slipping for these keywords. These are, these are guys that don't really all they care about is bragging and girls actually, that care about bragging. And so, you know, I pride myself on being able to understand what I can do to outrank not only my competitors, but also, you know, for my, for my, my clients as well, you know, I go out of my way to say, okay, hey, you know, who do you want to crush at the end of the day, you tell me who you want to crush, and we'll put a plan together to crush them. And like I said, a high percentage of the time we're able to do it.Andy Splichal:
Now, speaking of challenges, SEO is one of those industries. It's just filled with shysters. They're promising to get you on the first page of Google sometimes for pennies a day. And I'm looking at your website, I see where you have been recognized all over the place for the quality of work you're doing with SEO? And so my question is, so how do you separate your services from these con men type? That promise cheap, fast results?Shane Barker:
Yeah, I mean, I think it really comes down to you know, I call it my spider sense, right? And if you're looking at something, if it seems too good to be true, guess what it usually is, right? I mean, it's, if you're looking at something and going, Wow, that just just seems too good to be true. I really think about that, you know, we get the calls all the time, and you know, the ebb and flow, but you know, how to get you on the first page of Google for $99 a month, and whatever that is, and maybe they're talking about a directory they have, and they can, you know, get you somewhere on the first page. But at the end of the day, you know, SEO is some long term game, you know, this isn't a, this isn't a situation where you're going to be able to get number one overnight. And there's some strategies and things that you can do to be able to get up there faster. And obviously, that's what we use for ourselves and our clients. But at the end of the day, you have to realize that it's a long term game. And that's what I always tell my clients like, Listen, if you're looking for overnight results, or one week or two weeks or one month, you know, it's probably not going to happen, depending on what the keyword is, if you're, you know, carving out a little niche, and you have a brand new keyword that you're like, hey, we want to, you know, use this word, and nobody's really using it, it's a new term that we want to we want to coin, great, then we can go and probably get number one for that, because there's probably not a lot of competition. But the way that that I differentiate myself from from competitors, and important if you're listening to this, or if you're going to hire an SEO agency, is really see if they're being honest with you, because every agency will tell you that they can get your number one for this keyword and that keyword, but at the end of the day, like what I do, is I want to get results for you, right? Like I don't It's not about just getting a paycheck, like I don't want to collect a monthly check and not be able to look you in the eyes and say, Hey, we're making progress. So for me, I do a deep evaluation and to what is it possible, like, I'll give you an example like I, you know, real estate agents that will say, hey, I want to be number one for Los Angeles realtor. And I say, Okay, well, let's take a look at that. Well, the problem is, is you have Trulia, you have Zillow, you have you know, these big big companies, you know, realtor.com that are ahead of you. So what are your chances of becoming number one?Andy Splichal:
Well, plus 5 billion other real estate agents.Shane Barker:
That's exactly it. So you're the competition there is absolutely insane. Now, mind you, can I get you number one? I could, but I don't know if you have deep enough pockets to make that happen. Right? I mean, it would be an all out effort, it would literally be a war on some of the biggest, you know, SEO guys in the game that are in the real estate business. You know, can it happen? It can but you have to ask yourself, do you have you know, a million dollars to invest? And that's what it comes down to? Like, how big is it for you to be number one for that, and how realistic is it But the cool part about it is you don't have to be number one for you know, Los Angeles realtor as an example. There's other ways there's other longtail longtail being, you know, doesn't mean there's a few more terms on the front of the back, right, that you can potentially index for or there's other ways to drive traffic that don't have to be from an SEO perspective. So I think that's what's important is that if you really stuck on, you know, a certain keyword, the cool part about it is there's software's as I talked about, you can grab 1000s of keywords that maybe instead of maybe you know Los Angeles realtor has 10,000 searches, but maybe the one that's for you and maybe your Brent would really turn maybe there's only a you know, 800 searches, but it's going to be a lot easier. We talked about the KD scores of Keyword Difficulty right we have from one being extremely easy 100 Being you have a better chance of seeing God than to be number one for that. So last look at this. Yeah, that's pretty much it. Yeah, that, you know, attorney and there's all kinds of fun ones. But you know what happens at the end of the day is you have to look at that and say, Okay, what is it going to take? And is the lemon worth the squeeze? And what I mean by that is, so let's say you are a real estate agent right in Los Angeles, and you're like, listen, only thing I deal with is, you know, $30 million homes and I do you know, 10 a year, and you know, I make whatever $5 million a year and I'm awesome. I've got you know, gold teeth, and I'm just just absolutely amazing. I've got Gator shoes, I've got three Bentley's, I've got two girlfriends life seems to be really good for me here in Los Angeles. That's not me, by the way, that would be this fake realtor we're talking about. But what we're looking at there is that, if that makes sense, because you're saying, hey, if I can get you number one, you're willing to spend, let's say, a million dollars just as a general number to be number one there because you know that you can close whatever each person you have the you have the thought leadership, everybody knows who you are, you're a big deal. You're on all the big TV shows your stunt double for Arnold Schwarzenegger, like everybody knows you. Right? Then great, then maybe it makes sense to spend that money because you realize that you're making a 3% commission on a $50 million house? And that's going to be you know, 150,000 Oh, is it $1.5 million, or whatever? 150,000. Anyways, it's a lot of money, right? So at the end of the day, you get into great, maybe that makes sense. Now, if you're selling, you know, $10 items, and you have a $3 profit margin on them. I mean, how many, you know, if I'm charging you a million dollars to be number one, which I'm not charging anybody a million dollars, but once again, just for numbers sake, let's say that, isn't you, you have to how many items do you have to sell for that $3 profit to be able to break even on that, like, does that make sense? Right? So that's what you have to really look at is really make that evaluation that is it? Does it make sense to try to be number one for that? And what is it really going to take? Right? Like as SEO professionals, we should say, Hey, listen, this is what how realistic I think it is. Now, this isn't a guarantee, but from what I'm looking at From Software's that you can use to make that better evaluation. I'm telling you, this is what I think and this is how long it would take. And once again, no guarantees. But I think there's a high likelihood of this, this, this and this, because of you know, because of these factors, we're making an educated decision off of that we're most SEO companies will sell you a package for 500, a thousand fifteen, or whatever the number is, and they're going to get you a little higher. But really, if it's a big keyword, and it's something really hard that you guys are going after, there's probably not going to be tons of traction, right at the end of the day. And it's probably going to be a little bit of results here and there. I tell clients, hey, listen, this is what the price is going to be. And this is what we think the results are potentially going to be. And what we have to look at is, you know, if you're driving traffic, and let's say, let's say there's 50 searches for a keyword, and people go, but there's only 50 searches. But once again, if you're selling multimillion dollar homes, that that search, that one could actually be worth 15, 20 $30,000. That's exactly it. So now we have to take a look at that, like what is and also what is the lifetime value of a client like so if I am a realtor, and I start with, you know, some actor in Hollywood, he's 23 years old, and in his lifetime, he buys three houses that are all worth $5 million, and that the lifetime value of that client is $15 million times my 3% Commission. Right. So that's another thing you have to look at is it's not just, you know, it's not just this one time purchase, like we think about like hosting accounts and other things like that, like hosting, you know, when you do affiliate stuff, hosting will give you $100, $200, $300 for somebody to sign up and you're like, Well, how can they do that when the hosting is $8 a month? Well, it's because of the attrition rate, because the lifetime value of that client is usually going to be five years. So it's really five years times 12 months, 60 times $8. So it's $480. So they can afford to give me $200 to refer them that traffic. So that's what we have to look at.Andy Splichal:
Let me ask you, when people come to you how, what do you tell them? As far as how important do you believe that having a solid SEO strategy is to the success of your company?Shane Barker:
I mean, I think it's you know, it's like anything else? It's a it's an avenue that I think you have to take a look at I'm and I've had companies that have come to me and I've told them hey, listen, I don't think you know, the lemon is worth the squeeze in this situation. I'll explain why that is because you have heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy competition, not to say we can't find, you know, some you know, like I said longtail keywords and maybe some other ways to drive traffic. I mean, there's always ways, right? So doesn't always have to be that number one keyword. But what I always do is I always try to talk to people, and I tell them, hey, listen, like let's let's let's think about this realistically, like do we think what do we think it's going to take to be able to get you to that spot? And you know, once again, is it going to be is this going to be six months? Is it going to be one year? And what do we think it's going to cost to be able to do that? And I think that's that's really what it comes down to is being honest and transparent with with the people and letting them know, Hey, I think this is possible. I don't think it's possible. And this is the reason why that is.Andy Splichal:
Now does your team with all the changes that Google has come out with, specifically this year with customer experience on the website? Do you deal with your customers and helping them with like their page load speed or I guess my question is, how have you found the changes in SEO have you this year? And do you do services beyond content to add then do links?Shane Barker:
Yeah, so content and links are really our specialty. Now we do some on page optimization, you know, we'll go in and take a look at it and run an evaluation and help with page speed. The issue is, is, you know, if you have a really slow website, what happens most of the time, there's things you can optimize, you know, make the picture smaller, you can, different fonts and different things, you can once again, start chipping away at that page speed. A lot of the times, if you have really, really big big websites, the back end, what needs to happen to be able to get that down, if it's been a site that's been up for 5, 6, 7 years, and it's got 10,000 pages. That's something we can do. But I usually farm that kind of stuff out, because that's usually going to take a heavy, heavy technical team. And my team is technical, but we're not heavy, heavy technical, like I'm not, I usually would look at something like that and say, Hey, this is what I'll do is I need to I'll put a report together and tell you guys what you guys need to do. But this is something that either your internal team should optimize, or should should put in place where we'd hire or have somebody that would that I would recommend outside of my agency. Because once again, some basic stuff, if it's not a crazy website we can do. There's some things because we have plugins and everything that plays in together, we've learned our lesson the hard way over the last, whatever, 10-15 years, sometimes when you get in, you start looking under the hood. And you're like, Man, this is this is a little trickier than we thought in regards to, you know, lowering the Page Speed and doing some different things. But there's, there's good plugins, and there's softwares and I have some people that specialize specifically in in those types of tasks. That's one thing that we pride ourselves on is, you know, I don't claim to be the best at everything. We really once again, as you said, we really specialize on great content, SEO, obviously backlinks because we want to create epic content that people naturally want to backlink to outreach to getting people to backlink to those. But really the the heavy, heavy on page once again, if it's a crazy, you know, you're talking about amazon.com, which is obviously insane. But like if you have somebody that doesn't have to be that level, but you know, somebody that's got 10,000 pages, usually that's something that we like to have somebody else that has a heavy, heavy technical hand on that to be able to do that.Andy Splichal:
Now, you know, kinda reminded me I was curious of a question the other day, have you found that there any platforms that are easier for SEO than others? Or does it really not matter?Shane Barker:
You mean, like WordPress or something like thatAndy Splichal:
Worpress, like Shopify verse a GoDaddy Website or professional services built? I mean, anything?Shane Barker:
Yeah, so I, you know, I've always been, I've always been a huge fan of WordPress. And that's because I, you know, that's the sites that we've always used, I've always indexed extremely well, for us. Shopify is not bad, you know, like Wix and stuff, I think you run into some things, they're not necessarily built for SEO, I mean, they do some SEO stuff. But once again, you get that big, when you're trying to, you know, add on features. And obviously, they're trying to optimize and get things going. They're just, you know, it's like having a garage. And the more stuff you put in your garage, the bigger your garage is, the more stuff you put in there in theory, right, and then all of a sudden, when you go to clean it, it's a little harder to clean out. And so I think when you have a, you know, when you're starting with a WordPress site, and you're adding stuff to it, and then humans can always check in for optimization, it's easier, because you can optimize, you know, you're in charge of the code, you can go in there, you can hire somebody or do it yourself, I could probably hire somebody, if you don't know what you're doing in regards to, you know, code and CSS and stuff like that, with Wix and with Shopify, just it's a little more difficult, not impossible. But you have to realize you're not going to be able to get in and change code for the most part, right, and be able to go and optimize like, the what they've built is what they built. And they're always trying to tweak and make things better. But historically, what I've seen is that, you know, a WordPress type website will index better, because once again, you're starting off with some kind of a skeleton, and you're adding stuff to it. And you can, after you add one thing you can what's going to check the Page Speed and see the user experience and how everything's going and you can continuously kind of live, you know, have this lean website.Andy Splichal:
Now, do you have a favorite success story of a client that you'd be willing to share?Shane Barker:
Um, I do, you know, it's funny, so I I'm. So I do that the issue is, is that a lot of the clients that I work with, I signed NDAs. And so that's the you know, so I have some awesome ones that I'd love to tell you about. The problem is, is that they're I'm still working with them and have their clients heard this podcast, which they potentially could, then they know what we're doing. So I've got to be real careful with saying what keywords and stuff I will tell you, I will say this is kind of a fun story. I will tell you that I out indexed by Google for Google tools, like for their own terms. Yeah, I've actually have a screenshot I've, I should send it to you. I was like, like, what's my team? And I was like, Hey, we have a question. What is this new terms like, Google tools, like, you gotta be kidding me like Google was we were like, number one. And number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, was all Google products. And I'm like, I don't there had to have been a glitch in the matrix. Like, I'm not not that I'm not, you know, not that I'm not saying I'm not good at SEO. But at the end of the day, like I'm beating Google on their own platform for their own terms, so that was something that kind of like, I had to take a screenshot, but we were up there for a few months. And I think to sayAndy Splichal:
How long did that last?Shane Barker:
Yeah, not I mean, I would love to tell you here, but it was it was a month or two and I just kept looking at it. I was like, I can't imagine you know, and I actually brought my wife and then she was like, not impressed. She likes to what does that mean?Andy Splichal:
Yeah, that's a change in Google algorithm is coming.Shane Barker:
That's exactly what that was. Yeah, that was a glitch in the matrix. I was looking at that going, Man, this is, I don't know what just happened. But I'm going to screenshot this. And I, you know, we always joke around about it, obviously, we don't claim to be able to beat out Google for their own terms. But there was definitely a point that we did that, that I was like, Man, I'll take that all day long.Andy Splichal:
Now, is there any particular niches that you guys specialize in for your clients? So professional services, ecommerce, or is it really all across the board?Shane Barker:
Yeah, you know, we really, really have seen a lot of success with like SAS companies, you know, because of my site, because it indexes so well, that we've any kind of reviews or alternative posts or comparison posts, you know, a SaaS product versus another SAS product or alternatives, reviews have done really, really well, on my website. You know, I mean, there's just there's a, what's happened over the years is that we really kind of looked at I mean, I index on the first page for almost like, I think it's like 3400 keywords or something like there's some crazy amount. And so what we've looked at over the years is like, how do we put those into clusters? And what I mean by that is like, what types of terms does Google give me? special treatment on? Right? Like, like, Instagram is a great example, like anything Instagram related, my site usually gets on the first page instantly for just about anything I write or anything influencer related, because we've obviously been in the space for a long time. So there's certain terms, and anything SaaS related for whatever reason, Google, like, you know, I think it's maybe because of the types of articles that I've written over the years of being non bias and kind of educating people on new software's and good things that are happening there. So we've seen some great, great results there. But that's, we do some service based stuff, as well. But really, SaaS is kind of our hotspot.Andy Splichal:
Now is that for your website or for your clients?Shane Barker:
Clients, we do a lot of SAS stuff. So we do a lot of reviews and like companies that have been funded and say, Hey, we really want to get some major traction in these areas. You know, because I, you know, a lot of I've a huge network of people, you know that I have that right for certain different websites and stuff. So we can help them get traction. But really, we use our website is kind of that that tipping point of saying, Hey, you want to be number one, for a certain term, you're a brand new SaaS company been around for a year, I've been around writing for eight years, I can pretty much get you number one for any keyword, you know, let's look take a look at the keywords and see what we think the likelihood of being able to be number one for and I want to help them, I want to help them do what I've done to the other nine. So you know, Shane Barker's in the world that don't like me, I want to move them out of the way and I want to be you want to take over the first 10 - 20 spots. And that's what I look at for my clients is like, what do we need to do to secure? You know, for the main keywords like your high intent, keywords, what do we need to do to move the other people out of the way very nicely, of course, and say, excuse me as we move up. But you know, what do we need to do to make that happen?Andy Splichal:
Now, are there any challenges that you have struggled with and getting results organically for your clients?Shane Barker:
Yeah, I think, you know, some of the issues that you run into when it when working with clients is very much there's this this delicate balance between SEO and writing, right? What I mean by that is like something that you write that, you know, that reads, you know, once again, when you read it, you're like, Okay, that makes sense. And then where you're trying to infuse seo into that. So I, I actually had a she was actually part of HGTV, she was a thought leader and I was helping her I want to say her name, but she was a she was a sweetheart, but what we were doing is we were helping her with her website and thought leadership stuff. And anytime we would write some content for would say, hey, we really want to go after, you know, whatever the city she was in and, you know, interior design or whatever it was. And she really because she was a she was an artist. And so anytime she would read the content, she was always always it just didn't resonate with her. And I said, well, listen, we're not, we're not you know, this isn't like a thesis, we're not writing this from like a Shakespearean point of view, we're writing this to get to get number one for you know, your your name, or whatever it is whatever terms we're going after. And so we write it in a certain way that that Google loves it, right. And so we're looking at, you know, keyword density, and there's a lot of things that we do. And so a lot of the times with clients a I talk about, we do miss qualifying questions, but I want to find out, how realistic Are you in regards to how quickly you think this is going to happen? Right? You're saying, hey, I want to get a budget of 20 grand, and I want to do you know, $10 million in sales. And under though, you're not the only one that sounds awesome, I would love to do that for everybody. But let's be realistic about what we think we can get for you know, the budget that you have the terms that you're going after. And it's the same thing with this, like how, you know, when it comes to content, and that's writing content, we have a review process. But really, at the end of the day, we know how to write content that Google loves, right. And so that's really the goal. That's reason why we've been hired. So you know, I tell people, you can look at the content and you can absolutely make some changes. But you have to realize like there's structurally there's a schema, there's a way that we put content together, that we know a high percentage of the time that Google is going to give it preferential treatment because of how we wrote it. So that's what we have to realize if they're very stuck with Hey, it needs to read a certain way it has to be this and has to be that then we just say listen, this is probably not a good fit because I don't want to buttheads each time, we're putting out content and I don't want them to not, you know, not like the content that's been put out but I want gonna like to set that table I set expectations early to say, Hey, listen, you know, are you okay? With this type of content, it's going to be going out. But goal is to get if the goal is for you to get more leads and more traffic, I can make that happen. But you got to kind of give us the range to the blog, and we'll kind of explain the reason why we're writing the content that way we do. But you got to give up some reins there.Andy Splichal:
Yeah, I would think managing expectations in your industry would be the key because SEO is not overnight. And I was thinking that maybe one of the struggles that you are going to say, would be lack of patience for your clients part. But maybe you manage that with the expectations?Shane Barker:
Yeah, I mean, that's definitely in there. That's that comes down to Hey, what do you think the results should be? And how quickly you're looking to get results? I mean, I there's about 12 questions that we ask. And that is, because if they say, Hey, you know, we really were looking for this thing to be, you know, I got 10 grand, I'm gonna get at least a million dollars in sales. And I think we should be able to do within, you know, four weeks. And I got once again, love, love, love, the ambition, I love. I love how passionate you are about getting these results. But let's be realistic, and I've had these, you know, come to come to Jesus meetings with a number of clients and say, Listen, like anybody that tells you, they're going to be able to get you those results that somebody is just collecting 10 grand from you. And I'm just being honest with you, there's somebody out there that will that will sell you on a package that will tell you, hey, they can do this. But I'm telling you right now, that's not possible. So instead of spending 10 grand, just go hire the guy that for $99 will get you on the first page of Google that way you're saving $990 or 900. Yeah, $9,900, you know, so at the end ofAndy Splichal:
Solid financial adviceShane Barker:
That's it, just try to save the cash, you know, just go and go get ripped off for only $100 instead of 10,000. Like just make it less of a blow is my recommendation.Andy Splichal:
Now besides SEO i See also offer influencer marketing services, content marketing services and online PR services. Now the content marketing and the online PR service, they seem to go hand in hand right with the content. Yeah, I didn't see the fit with the influencer marketing services. What does that include that you guys are doing? And how did you get into offering that service?Shane Barker:
Yeah, you know, it's so funny. So it was one of those things I got kind of forced into it. So and that sounds terrible. And I'm like, forcing like I hated it. But no, really what it is, is because I was one of the first people to write about influencer marketing. And so what happened was because I was writing about that I had a client Zoe that we took from 400,000 to 1.6 million selling fitness ebooks, like she we just crushed she was making a million dollars a year off of fitness ebooks. But so we jumped into that, and then ended up teaching a course at UCLA, a personal branding and how to be an influencer course. The problem was, I was seeing so often in the influencer space, that people started to say, hey, like, you know, we have questions about our campaigns. And I had been on both sides of the coin. What I mean by that is, we had helped brands, you know, get to a certain level, then I'd also represented influencers and negotiated deals. So I'd seen both sides of the coin. So it naturally I just naturally jumped into the influencer marketing thing, because it made sense because I had the thought leadership of, you know, teaching at UCLA, I've spoken on stages in Turkey and you know, Istanbul, I mean, actually Istanbul, Turkey, I mean, you know, India, like just all over the world. And so, people were naturally coming to me and saying, like, why would you not offer this service? And so, we got to a situation where I was like, I, you know, I can't not offer this, like I'm leaving money on the table, I know how to do this. You know, it really comes down to once again, on those types of situations, it comes down to expectation, like what do you expect to get from, you know, influencer marketing is similar to SEO in the sense that, you know, if you think you're just gonna go hire one influencer, pay him 10 grand, they're gonna post about your new bathing suits that you guys haven't you expect to get, you know, $50,000 in sales, it's just not that way. That was you know, influencer marketing eight years ago when nobody was doing influencer marketing. Right. So now it's now it's a little bit of a different deal. It's a frequency deal, it's gonna take, you know, marketing is you take, you have to see things 5, 6, 7 times before they're gonna make, you know, some kind of an educated decision to buy something. So you have to build a strategy around that. It's not just a one stop shop, you know, hey, post one time and then make a million dollars.Andy Splichal:
Now, personally, are there any business books out there that you can attribute to your journey as an entrepreneur?Shane Barker:
You know, what? Yeah, I mean, you know, it's kind of crazy. So there are a number of books that like, I mean, you know, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you know, just for for mindset, and really thinking about, like, kind of putting things in categories of, of how things can be done. I mean, I've I've read so many books over the years, and the sad part for me is that I remember like little things about each book, but I forget the names of a lot of the books like, But Rich Dad, Poor Dad was one that really stuck out obviously. What was the one Dale Carnegie, Influential FriendsAndy Splichal:
How to Think and Grow Rich?Shane Barker:
How to Think and Grow Rich. Yeah, that was Napoleon.. I can't remember the name. Yes. But that was another one. I actually, Napoleon Hill. Yeah. I read that one about once a year. Because for me that that is I mean, that was written what, 90 years ago? I mean, I don't even know it was a lot. Long time ago, that book was written the core of what that book, what it, what it talks about. And what always impresses me is every time I read it, I get something different out of it, which is just incredible to me. So there's, it's definitely one of those books. Like I said, I do it at least once a year when I go on vacation, I'm so cool. Listen, I'm gonna go and read this book, spend a few hours and kind of knock this thing out.Andy Splichal:
Now, I know we've spoken about this, but kind of around and around. To summarize, what would you say the problems that you guys are solving for your clients? And how are you standing out from the competition?Shane Barker:
Yeah, I mean, I would say the problems that we're solving is, is really coming down to, you know, does it make sense to do SEO, right? Like, at the end of the day, like, we want to go after certain keywords, are we going after the right keywords? So the the problem is, is a lot of people say, hey, I want to go after a certain keyword. And then we make that evaluation and say, This is a reason you don't want to go off to that keyword like it can happen. But it's either a low intent keyword, it's just a keyword that somebody told them or they think a competitor is going after, you know, our thing is really we want to solve the problem of what are the right keywords to go after? And how do we go after them? And then the next step to that is, are we converting? Right? Like, who cares if I drive 10 million people to you on a daily basis? If you're not converting? Then there's a problem. Right? Like it doesn't doesn't really matter. So we take a look at that as well, like, what do we think we can do to drive that traffic? But then the conversion of that traffic? And what again, what is the lifetime value of that client? Right? How much is that client worth to you? And how many do you need to drive? Because once again, if you're spending $50,000 with me, and you sell something that there's a $2 profit margin? How many do you have to sell how much traffic needs to be driven? If you're at a 3% conversion rate? So 100 people come over to you, you're closing three of those out of 100. And you're making, let's say, $5? How many of those I mean, how much traffic needs to be sent to you? Great, we need to send you whatever 200,000 in traffic? Well, is that even? Can we even get that through the keywords that you're looking at? You know, and how many months? Is that going to take it take a year, six years? 10 years? 20 years to get your money back? And does that make sense? That's what it comes down to? Like, I can I can do it for 15, I can make it happen. But why would I want to do that knowing at the end of this thing, it's probably not going to end well for you. Like I mean, in a sense, in regards to conversions, you might not ever make your money back, like why do thatAndy Splichal:
You're helping them reverse engineer the numbers almost?Shane Barker:
Yeah, you have to because if not, then how do you know if it worked? Right? Like I mean, that's what we have to take a look at. It's like, that's great. There's, you know, once again, we talked about, you know, what does that person worth? Is it only 50 searches, but if they're worth, you know, $30,000 to you, then that makes sense, you know, or, you know, or if there's 10,000 searches, and then how many of those have to convert and what kind of competition are we looking at? So that's the problem is any agency will tell you they can do it, because they maybe can for that amount. But does it make sense? That's the next step that most agencies aren't going to tell you. They're not going to say, You know what, this really doesn't make sense. Most of them won't. I'm not saying all SEO agencies are shysters. But most of them are going to say, Yeah, we could definitely get you up there. And maybe they can. But the next question is, is it worth it?Andy Splichal:
Who is the perfect client for your agency?Shane Barker:
Yeah, I think, you know, the perfect client really is a client that probably most of the clients that come to us, unfortunately, had been beaten a little bit, you know, they've gone through a little domestic violence when it comes to another SEO company. Right. So there's a little bit of you know, said there's a little bit of trust that needs to be built. They've read my articles for a little bit. They're like, Hey, thank you know what you're talking about. You don't have a gold tooth, or, you know, a Cadillac or anything. So I feel like you should be, you know, nothing against Cadillacs. I used to have one, I actually love Cadillacs. But you get my point, like, you know, shoe salesman, or, you know, because he's used car salesman, the, you know, for me, the perfect client is somebody that, that understands the value of what we're going to be bringing right and understand has proper expectations. And sometimes it doesn't happen out the gate. But the the qualifying questions that I have them answer will tell me where they're at. And then we have a call. And if they're still stuck on something and saying, Hey, I had a my best friend's cousins, uncle got this type of results off of this. And I think it's this. And you know, if I give you 10 grand, you should make it, you know, 250 grand, say, Okay, well, I don't know if that's possible. Let me explain why that's not possible. Let me tell you what is possible for that, like, I do think we could probably get you to 20 or 30 grand because of this, this, this and this. But usually what happens is I started asking the harder questions like, Hey, what is the lifetime value of your client? What did you guys his current conversion rate? And then things get a little quiet? And then it's like, okay, well, wait a second, how would you know that you want to get, you know, 30,000 in sales? Right? Your we got to reverse engineer this thing? Right? So you don't even know like, you just you pulled that number out of the sky. And so what we have to do is say, even if I was to get your number one, right, is that is that possible to was it? Does it make sense? So I think that it's a client that I don't they don't necessarily have to have gone through the SEO domestic violence, you know, but it's helpful in the sense that they okay, like, because then I can look at the reports that they send, and I go, that's awesome. They sent you this report, and you're number one for 39 keywords that have nothing to do with what you sell. Right? They go yeah, they would send me these reports. And I'm like, Yeah, I'm number one for for for nougat and I'm like, do you sell for Finnegans? They're like, No, and I'm like, then who cares?Andy Splichal:
Now are most of your clients professional services? Are they doctors, lawyers? Dentist?Shane Barker:
No, I have I have a handful there. But really our our main thing is SaaS companies are like our startups and SaaS companies that that have, because we can, you know, they're obviously the lifetime value of a client, if they're, you know, paying $50 a month, and they keep them on for two years, that's a higher lifetime value than if it's a service based company have an AC guy that charges, you know, 200 bucks and right, you know, it's just, it's just the numbers work out better for a SaaS company. And once again, the site index does extremely well, if I'm writing about a Los Angeles attorney, you know, and it just doesn't, my site would do okay, but it wouldn't, it wouldn't be where they need them to be, they wouldn't be we wouldn't get the favorable results on Google. So we just know that when anything SAS related is going really, really well with our site.Andy Splichal:
Now, how can an interested listener, whether they're perfect or not learn more about working with you?Shane Barker:
Yeah, you can go into Google, you can put in shanebarker.com. And you can just look at the first 20 results, which will not be the nine people that we talked about earlier. No, I'm just kidding. I think maybe somebody snuck in here and there, which is okay, I let people come and visit on occasion. You know, really, the, if you want to find out more about me, you can just go to shanebarker.com. That's shanebarker.com. You can take a look at me there, I've got my newsletter, we send nothing but value out through my newsletter. And I'm not just saying that I I'm serious. I don't think I've ever sold anything through my newsletter. It's always been just value, which I'm not bragging about, I probably should talk about my services there. But go take a look at the newsletter, you can add me on Instagram to Shane Barker. LinkedIn is Shane Barker. And then Twitter. We did have a Shane Barker that got the Shane Burke before I did. So @Shane_Barker. Shout out to the other Shane Barker that got that Twitter account before me because I'm coming for you.Andy Splichal:
Now, what would you tell someone who is thinking of hiring an SEO agency, but may have been burned in the past?Shane Barker:
You know, you really what you want to do is you want to educate yourself a little bit on the process, you know, have you no need to be able to do it yourself. But understand the terms understand what people what they're offering to you better understand how realistic it is, like ask the questions the SEO agency should tell you. Yeah, I think this is what it is. And these are what the results could be. And then you'd have to figure out on your side is once again, does it make sense if they're sending you 50 people a month, you know, and your closing whatever 10% of that, that's great five people, and it's worth 1000 bucks, great, that's worth $5,000 And you're paying 2000 Those aren't bad numbers. But what you have to do is look at that you have to think about you have to know your numbers on your site. That's the important part, right? Because any SEO agency is gonna say, hey, I can get you to that term. But once again, who cares? If you don't know what your numbers are on your site, they can send you one person or 10 million people. But if you don't know that conversion on your site, that's a that's a problem. Right? Any SEO agency can potentially get to there. But you're the one that has to understand what that lifetime value is, and what exactly each lead is going to be worth to you. Right? What is that? The cost to act, your cost of acquisition for those for those leads? And then what how many of those are your converting? So ask the right questions and get it from multiple agencies, and really find the person that's being honest with you. That's saying, Hey, listen, I the person, that's that's not just selling you on something, right? And obviously ask for results. Say, Hey, like, you know, the funniest part, I have SEO agencies that I'll go and look at their website, and they're not indexing for anything. Now, I'm not saying that you have to be number one Google, you know, for certain SEO terms, if you're an SEO company, but at the end of the day, I don't know, it's like, you know, it's hard. It's kind of like the financial planner that drives up and, you know, like a 1982 Ford Festiva. Like, maybe he just saves all of his money. And that's awesome. But there's something about that, like, I want to know, like, show me what you've done for your website, obviously, what you're for your clients as well. But you have to have some proof in the pudding. Like, for me, it's like, it just drives me crazy. When people can't do what they're telling their clients to do. And they're not doing it themselves. Like, you gotta you gotta drink your own Kool Aid, and you got to be able to show those results.Andy Splichal:
Now, anything else you would like to add? Before we wrap it up today?Shane Barker:
No, I will say that, you know, once again, not all SEO, SEO agencies are bad. You know, I mean, it's it is you have to realize it's a long term game, if somebody's promising you the week, two weeks, three weeks for $100 Run, unless you just feel like donating money, which you could just take that money and go to a casino and at least you'd maybe win something. So there's other ways to spend that money. If it doesn't seem right. If you're looking for quick results. It's no different. If you go to a gym, you want to go get a six pack, if somebody says hey, if you do, you know three crunches and you eat seven carats, and you're gonna have a six pack. And that's what you're looking for that makes sense to you, you're probably not going to get a six pack. So my thing is, is understand that that it's a long term game with SEO, but with the right agency and somebody that's been honest with you about the potential results, that's what you want, you want somebody you can have a conversation with. And also that will explain what they're doing. I go into detail of my clients and people always go, why don't you tell your clients because then they can maybe do it on their own. They're not going to want to do it on their own after the results that we get them. Like why would you want to go take that on yourself if you're getting phenomenal results? That's happened a handful of times and out of theirs. It's happened to me three times and two of those people came running back to me and said hey, I apologize and I said not a problem. Learning lesson, let's move on. Let's get you back to where you need to be.Andy Splichal:
Well, this has been great. Well, thank you for joining us today, Shane.Shane Barker:
Absolutely, man, thank you for having us. I'd really appreciate it.Andy Splichal:
And for listeners remember if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave an honest review. And if you're looking for more information regarding Shane barker.com, or connecting with Shane, you will find all the links in the show notes. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business, check out our all new podcasts Resource Center available at makeeachclickcount.com. We've compiled all different past guests by show topics and I've included each of their contact information in case you would like more information on any services that I have discussed during previous episodes. That's it for today. Remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.