This interview with Garry Grant of SEO Inc. is part of our Webinar Series.To view the transcript of Garry’s entire presentation, visit our webinar library. A transcript of the Q&A portion is available below.
McKay: Awesome. Guys, thank you. That was great presentation, really specific with a lot of great actionable insight, so that’s vital. Let’s just jump right into the questions.
So first question, talk about backlinks in relation to ranking, obviously backlinks as you said are the most vital element of all these. It’s interesting because a lot of things that were thought to be… I think that people would consider grey hat or even black hat, they still work, you still get juice from backlinks.
How do you balance instant success in getting backlinks with long-term strategy in content. And I’ll just say it as a caveat two, someone argued that there isn’t such thing as black hat versus white hat, they are just, does it work or does it not work. What are your thoughts on that generally and the more specifically about balancing the two?
Gary: That’s a great phenomenal question, I’m going to let Dalton speak on that. McKay you hit the nail on the head, what’s black hat, white hat? Well, what do you have to do these days to get your site ranked?
Google really doesn’t care if you’re site ranked, they want you to be within their guidelines, and what is that? It’s a fine line that you have to dance, right? If want the quick thing using black hat techniques or buying links, that’s considered now black hat.
My personal thought is, why can’t I buy a link on every single website there is on the planet? What’s wrong with me advertising? I can advertise in any billboard as long I have the money to pay for it, but you know what? These are Google’s guidelines and you got to play along with their guidelines. Yeah, some backlinks will hurt you somewhat but Dalton I want you to speak to that specific question.
Dalton: Sure. So yeah, just touching on it really quickly. Why things are considered black hat versus white hat, and it goes back to Google really. Google wants to see everything they want done perfectly, so even just a quick thing, so buying links. The reason why they have to put that into effect and why it became such a big issue was because it made their billion dollar algorithm useless and worthless overnight.
Garry: It worked.
Dalton: Yeah, right. So I could go out and, hey, I’m going to spend 10,000 and get myself 100,000, maybe even 10 million links right? And I would be number one for every keyword in my industry.
So yeah, it destroyed Google and they quickly attacked that. Now to balance it out, balancing out is difficult if you are a person who does… go, “Okay, well, I want to do… buying links and black hat techniques anyway.” There are still somewhat safer versions of doing it, like not using a money keyword. So like if you sell shoes, not using shoes as an anchor text or men’s shoes as an anchor text. Those things will get you penalty if Google can determine if it’s a paid for link. So there are a ton of ways to try and make your articles and your content seem like it’s actually organic. But Google tries really hard to decipher that, because again, it will make their business worth nothing.
Garry: And here’s what… to sum it up, should you go out and buy links and just try to game the system? If you want short-term success, be my guest, be prepared to have your website penalized, banned.
If you’re one of those type guys who just want to open multiple websites all the time, there’s also a feature in Google where they look at domain name, age, so if you’re a new site, you’re not going to get ranked, you’re going to get sandboxed. My thing is if you’re in this for the long long haul, just do the right thing, follow the guidelines. For our clients we don’t step into the gray area whatsoever, we just go on what’s standard great optimization is and we win every time. There’s no shortcutting.
McKay: Great answer guys, great answer. Okay, let’s talk a little bit about, we have a lot of people asking questions about how they should judge their SEO firm. And you guys probably run into this with clients all the time and we have as well.
What should people expect when they hire a company to do SEO for them, what should they expect in terms of transparency, in terms of results in other words… well, I’ll just personalize, just to crystalize the questions that I’m seeing. We’ve had SEO firms before, it’s been three or four months and we just haven’t seen anything. And at some point you’ve just got to cut bait because you’re losing money. In terms of SEO, how do you manage that as a firm, how do you think about the results you’re trying to provide to your clients, that you promised them, and then the data and the tactics you’re telling them about along the way.
Garry: McKay, that’s a phenomenal question. I’m glad you brought that up and brought that to light. Because we see a lot of companies that come back to use and they say well, we’re just not happy with the results. Okay, what’s that definition? What does that mean?
Let’s define it. The first thing we do when we talk to our client and when we engage with them, I say, “What are your goals, what would you consider milestones and what’s the end result that you’re looking for?” Well, it depends on e-commerce it’s revenue, correct? And on lead generation it’s the amount of leads that they have that are coming in or how many phone calls they have. So to define that, it gets challenging because we’ve heard, “Okay, we expect to see a 100% increase.” Well, by looking at specific keywords with volumes to those keywords, we can estimate on if they’re on the second page, if they go to the first page these calculations that we make, what the anticipated revenue is.
Now going back to your point where you said three of four months you don’t see any activity. What you want in an SEO company is number one, how long have they been doing this? What is their success rate? Who are their clients? Can I talk to a few of their clients? Let me talk to maybe one of the project managers that I’m going to be working with, or one of your analysts.
When we engage with the client, I make sure that that client knows who is going to be on their account. And normally when we engage with the client, they’re getting six to 10 people on the account. I put key players on there so that they’re comfortable in talking with that person. Now let’s talk about strategy and how things should be outlined in transparency. I believe it should be 100% transparent of what’s going on?
There’s no smoking mirrors here folks — there’s never been smoking mirrors. It’s a methodology and process to getting your website ranked. And if that’s clearly laid out to a client like in the first… I’m going to give you a typical example in the first month, we’re going to do link detox and we’re going to craft their link profile by cleaning up the mess.
Now are they going to see any immediate results from that? No. But, we’re going to have report showing the amount of work we’ve done, and that’s another key element. You want to see reports. You want to be able to talk to that SEO at least on a weekly basis, having a meeting discuss, “Hey, what’s going on this past week? What are we doing in the next two weeks?”
A clear laid out game plan. Now I will tell you from my experience that some websites gain traction faster than some others. In most cases we can see initial movement in the second third and fourth month. I never tell a client like that because I want them to have their expectations set that it may be a struggle. But in most cases we see some movement either in rankings, in phone call, in visibility, in sessions, in engagements. There’s something there that’s going to improve within the first couple of months, especially when we detoxify the links.
By the third or fourth month, you should start seeing improvements. By the eighth month revenue should start flowing in, there should be no questions asked on what you’re doing. 100% of our clients right now are satisfied. In the last year, I will tell you this, we have not lost one client, and I know that attribution is huge. In our industry, zero clients have left us in the past year. I let one client go because they just really didn’t understand the whole concept but that’s good to hear you are there. Okay, did that answer?
McKay: Absolutely, absolutely. And this final question here, what’s your average for AdWords for running someone’s PPC campaigns, do you guys do that first of all Garry?
Garry: Yes, we do.
McKay: You said the average spend for that or the minimum spend for that was about $4,000 what’s your fee structure, how does that look? That’s a question people are asking and, a common concern people say, “Well, is it really good to benefit me to have an agency do this where I’m going to have to pay them money on top of what I normally… obviously can manage it myself?” What is your fee structure look like and what’s your ROI there for your clients in terms of having you guys do it?
Garry: Okay, I’m glad you mentioned that because who happens to be listing is our director of page search. So when I said the 4,000 minimum that’s for SEO, on-page search, we try to be a little flexible because I know some smaller companies may be about 5,000 or 10,000 a month budget. But we try only now to take on clients that have a minimum spend of 10,000 a month, believe it or not in page search. And our fee structure varies upon industry and the spend.
But I will tell you just basic fees, our minimum requirements $10,000 a month spend and we’re pretty much standard across the industry at 15%. Now the ROI, I’m just cleaning up, the mess that we see is immediate, it’s almost within the first few days right, Gerald?
And what we bring to the table far surpasses what I see going on out there. Number one, we’re a Google partner, I’ll just give you a funny antidote here. We had a client that does high-end handbags or used handbags and they came on spending 5,000 a month with us. They’re now spending almost 80,000 a month on Google AdWords, returns through the roof.
We’ve hit one of their goals which they came to us, was take a 15 million dollar a year company and turn it into an over 30 million dollar a year company, and we have done just that. We’ve also taken them and wined and dined them, brought them up to the Googleplex and spent the whole day riding around bikes having fun, eating in the cafeteria with the Googlers up there, it was just a blast. Do you have anything you want to put in here, Gerald?
Garry: So if you’re having struggles with your page search campaigns, you know what our fees are. If you’re under that 10,000 spend and maybe a 5,000 spend and we can uncover some opportunities for you, let us do an audit. There’s no harm in us doing an audit for you guys, and we’re more than willing to do that. We like to try to open up our doors and show you what we have, if we can leave you with a couple of different opportunities to walk away with, so be it. Good luck.
McKay: Great. Gents, thank you for your time today we appreciate it, we’re out of time but great presentation. Thank you for the answers to the questions, I think that was a fantastic, fantastic presentation. So thanks again guys.