Building an SEO agency with Matt and Mark from LCT
For episode 21, I’ve brought on Matt Stack and Mark Luckenbaugh from LocalClientTakeover, to have a chat about SEO and agency building.
LocalClientTakeover is a Facebook group with over 8,000 members, helping each other build and scale local marketing agencies. They’ve also got some awesome training, and offer full white label services through their Web20Ranker brand.
In this episode, we cover:
- Platonic bathing, Matt’s original AOL screen name, and other random side topics inc. Mark’s mom walking into his office mid-interview
- How to make your clients love you and massively increase your retention rate
- The story of how LCT started, how Matt and Mark became partners, and how Web20Ranker came to be
- The differences between an in person team and hiring virtual assistants
- What Mark and Matt would do today if they had to start over
- The latest Google update and Mark’s thoughts and data on it
Watch it here:
Daryl: Hi guys, welcome back to another episode of the Lion Zeal Show. This episode, episode number 21, I put on Matt and Mark from LCT, that’s Local Client Takeover. These guys run a community, Local Client Takeover, of around 7,000 SEOs, over more I think that focus predominantly on working with their local business clients.
In this interview we’ve got some pretty interesting topics, some very strange ones. You’re going to hear a little bit about nude yoga, bathing and a lot of things like that. We’re getting some really useful content that I’m sure you guys are going to love. You’re going to hear the back story of how Local Client Takeover started and how the partnership definitely all came together.
You’re going to hear about what the latest and what these guys are seeing from that later that is causing that and how you can recover from it if you’ve been hit or anything like that from it so far. It’s a pretty interesting interview.
There are so many different topics we get into that I really can’t address all of it in the intro. It’s just an all-around fun chat about SEO and local marketing if you’re an agency person and the Local Client Takeover back story and some random topics sprinkled in there as well once you see as we get into the interview. That said, let’s just cut straight into it and I hope you guys enjoy. Alright guys, what’s up? Thanks for coming on the show firstly.
Mark: Thanks for having us.
Daryl: It’s weird interviewing two people at the same time but let’s just roll with it I guess. An interesting starting point is what do you guys do? You have the group obviously and I see you guys doing some of your different services and stuff. You guys seem to do everything, what is it you guys work on these days?
Matt: A lot of what we spend our time on now is nude yoga. We spend hours per week on that.
Daryl: How does that work?
Mark: Do you really want to know how it works? Is that how you want to start this show? Dare me if you want to know how that works.
Matt: We’ve been working on a lot of LCT and Web-20 work lately and we also workout together in the gym.
Mark: We are brothers of the iron.
Daryl: Do you guys do everything together or there’s just some stuff you do separately?
Mark: Are you trying to be funny, Daryl?
Matt: We bathe together but no.
Mark: It’s strictly platonic.
Matt: It’s platonic bathing.
Daryl: This interview, okay.
Mark: It’s platonic bathing.
Daryl: LCT then.
Mark: This is off to a great start.
Daryl: LCT then, you guys had been running that for ages now. How did that first start off?
Mark: Probably about two years ago I noticed, really popular, if you listen to someone who does really big business, they’ll tell you, “Don’t create a business, create a solution for an existing problem and the business will get built around that,” the business will come.
I was in a bunch of the communities’ forums. This is when BHW started going downhill. For anyone that’s newer to the game like laughs at BlackHatWorld, that platform used to rock. Just saying, there used to be really good content on there, great services. Great is subjective, it’s all about how you use them. I was on a lot of the Facebook groups. I saw people that I didn’t feel like the community was being serviced well as far as the information they were receiving especially at the price points they were receiving it.
I feel like a lot of people jumped on a bandwagon where it’s okay, we can just repeat and recycle and not really have data-backed proven concepts. We can just recycle what’s out there and make a course. You had the massive explosion of Warrior Forum over courses of years. I just felt like I could provide value.
I could provide value because even at that point, I had a seven-figure local agency, client-facing doing local SEO. It was mainly local SEO-centric. I was like, “Man, I just don’t think a lot of these guys are …” or whatever, obviously I can do this better. I can provide more value. The one area, obviously I was always comfortable with organic.
Even to this day, I’ll sit and just geek out with someone about organic rankings and different stuff to test. I love it. Having said that, my maps, as far as the technical implementation of some like the intimate map methodologies, I wasn’t comfortable charging money for it so I said, “I need to get someone in here who is because it’s just not me.”
If it’s not a core competency, I don’t feel like I should charge money for it. I connected with Brian Willie, that’s our third partner in LCT. I was like, “Hey, you’re the maps guy,” he had a reputation of knowing maps and doing some video stuff and I said, “Let’s connect.”
Initially we were going to sell a course and there was a few things that happened that it pissed me off, some of the things that happened, it was politics of the IM world that I’m like, “At the end of the day, I don’t need the money.
I’m not you guys. I don’t need this money. I make fine money, released everything for free,” but quite a few people should grin. That’s how it initially started. There was a lot of free value. That’s how we ended up meeting Matt.
Matt: I was the resident troll of LCT for a while.
Daryl: You got upgraded from the troll.
Mark: He still trolls now he just gets paid to do it. It’s a big difference.
Matt: I end up jumping on a call with you and it was a really good call and then I ended up trying to or I came down to see you. I remember when I was trying to arrange that I think I was trying to stay with you or something and your fiancé got all creep-ed out.
Mark: Yeah. She definitely wasn’t cool with one of my internet friends staying in our house with our son and whatnot. I think he was three at the time or four at the time.
Daryl: Was that the first day you turned up just trying to crash in their place?
Mark: No, it was very. I mean, it was aggressive. I was like, “Jesus, I don’t know this guy. He seems cool.”
Matt: When I talked to him I knew I wanted to work with him so I went to go out and meet him in person because I feel like that’s the best way to do stuff with business if it’s possible to meet the person in person.
Daryl: What were you doing before that Matt?
Matt: Mostly lead-gen stuff.
Daryl: You guys both still do that?
Matt: I still do a little bit of that.
Daryl: You both still do that now, what you were doing before that?
Daryl: Mark, you didn’t get rid of your agency and now you’re still doing lead-gen?
Mark: Not yet, I’m trying but not yet. No, not really. That’s my bread and butter. I’ll complain about it but it’s where maybe 80% of my income comes from so no, I probably shouldn’t get rid of it. What I’m pushing for now, I’m moving towards some affiliate stuff.
I have some really cool … it’s free, I’m not going to self-plug something paid but I’m going to give some really cool resources out. We’re putting a twist on the affiliate game where we’re doing local affiliate stuff.
Daryl: I’ve been in it a while now as well.
Mark: What’s that?
Daryl: How are you guys doing that? I’m curious.
Mark: It’s basically, long story short, we’re just targeting the big terms on a local level. Instead of ranking nationally, you’re ranking in big cities. A lot of people when they do the search is it’s going to pull in your listings based on the geo-specificity of the search of the user. I’m going to release the niche and everything. I’m going to show the exact sites we’re ranking.
I want to do it, it’s a free webbie, I’m going to give a bunch of stuff away just because we’re doing a lot more of that. We want to revert back to the roots. We’re giving a bunch of stuff away. A buddy of mine’s doing 10K a month on it ranking in just one city. It’s big and a lot of people get intimidated by jumping feet first into affiliate.
It doesn’t have to be intimidating. You can start on a really non-competitive level and have it be lucrative. I’m trying to just get more into being just the marketing arm of businesses. I’ve bought into a fitness business recently, we manufacture fitness products. I’m working on acquiring a digital cross-fit magazine for God knows what reason, I guess to supplement the fitness brand. That’s where I want to go.
The client stuff’s cool but everyone who has these skills should be applying them to bigger businesses and to be leveraging them for larger deals. I can charge someone two grand a month or I can get 30% of a business less marketing budget every month to fund what I need to do. Which would you rather have? I’m trying to go in that direction more. It creates a lot of work but its fun.
Daryl: It’s the next level deal I guess rather than just get on a flat every month, own part of the company.
Mark: Trying. I mean, there is a lot of moving parts to like synchronized swimming. I mean, if you don’t love a challenge you’re crazy for being in this business too, quite a bit too honest maybe.
Daryl: I understand that it must be pretty difficult to get a deal where they’re giving you ownership. How does that even come about?
Mark: A lot of times it comes from a sense of desperation. I don’t want to sound … God that makes me sound like a really bad person. I come in when this business is at its worse and just take advantage of a bad situation. One business meeting and they’re awesome people, we talk to the guy a lot there in LCT and stuff. There’s a chance he might see this. They’re awesome people and they have a really cool product. The investors, I think they put $700,000 worth of this product in their garage getting ready to sell it. If you invest on those all in all, they might have close to a million dollars patent pending and stuff.
You get to a point where you’re not turning over product. A smart investor is going to say, “Man.” If they believe, if you build that trust and they were in LCT, I established a level of trust with them and then we’re at the point where it’s are you going to get it sold or not?
Are you going to let the products sit in your garage or are you ready to do some type of profit split? It usually comes from a big sticking point and having some type of relationship. I mean, I don’t cold call businesses trying to get a percent. People would laugh at me. It’s a lot of trust established and that’s fine.
Daryl: You guys have a lot of different services you have. You have the Web 2.0 Ranker, you have a press release service I believe you have mentioned. What different services you guys offer now?
Matt: We ended up selling the press release service to Web-20 and that’s just mostly a service based business. The LCT, any of the products we have on that are just information products. We’re working on some pretty cool stuff. One thing we’re working on is called LCT Recon and it’s just we’re going to be forming lots of tests and experiments and just showing people actual things we’re doing to rank, it’ll just be tons of case studies. We’re pretty excited about that.
Mark: That’s going to be disgusting because we’re going to show the live ranking site to these numbers. It’s no blurred anything, they’re going to see them and we’re going to say, “This is what we did,” tons of different strategies.
No one in the industry’s done anything like it right now. Maybe there’s a good reason for that but we obviously know how to party. I don’t want to be too wild about it but we’re going to do some pretty cool stuff like that. Like Matt said, we’re working a lot on the Web-20 stuff because we have a large team. We have an office space in Ilo-Ilo we own and we have managements’ hierarchy and then Ilo-Ilo and stuff and the quality control’s insane.
We have a squad in-house that helps support in quality control and facilitating some of the things where you just need some of the things with the language barrier would affect quality. They can get plugged in there and make sure it doesn’t affect quality. We’re really working on scaling that. That’s exciting. We just do, man we do everything. We’re going to be launching some done-for-you client sites, lead-gen sites competitively priced, White Label SEO. We just do it all.
Matt: We just want people to be able to outsource a bunch of their SEO work so they can focus on scaling and selling and growing their business because scaling fulfilment can be a real pain in the butt at times.
Daryl: Definitely. There’s a lot of demand for services like that.
Mark: Plus it’s becoming more popular to build sellable businesses. You’ll find a lot of people. For instance, we talked to Jake Tanner. He was going through … remember that Matt? We did that almost like a year ago probably but he was going through a lot of the … I don’t want to call it pain points but he was just restructuring things so his business was sellable.
If you’re sitting and doing SEO and you’re managing it, I don’t want to call it unorganized but if they’re all not in one place, it has a sense of disorganization, a bunch of different VAs. Your business relies on that. You want to have a sellable business. If you can’t walk away today and have your business run and scale just as well as it is with you in it, you’re not going to sell your business.
You have investors now. They’re spending 30, 50, 60 times the monthly revenue to acquire businesses. If you can build your business off of outsourcing from Web-20 or anywhere, we’re just like shamelessly self-plugging ourselves but if you do it anywhere, if you would have service there and they did it using yours, essentially once I hit … it might sound crazy, once I’m making $20,000 a month I can get an investor to buy it for over a half a million dollars. Where if you can’t pull me out of that business I can just go to Daryl and market stuff up and use my acquisition system that we’ve proven over the past nine months or 18 months, it doesn’t matter.
That’s attractive I think to a lot of people. It allows you to stay. The ability to generate that type of liquidity is impressive and you can’t do that if you can’t jump out of the business. We want to create that opportunity.
Daryl: That makes sense. A lot of people are running their businesses rather than having a proper business that runs itself. It’s them.
Mark: They create jobs for themselves like they’re building a job. It can be a well penned job and listen, if you’re doing well, that’s awesome. I’m not going to sit and be like, “Listen, you’re doing six figures a month but you suck.” That’s not the case but essentially it’s a very well penned job. It’s a $1.2 million a year job you build for yourself which is cool but we just want to have other options.
Daryl: How did you guys get into the service business from what was originally just information and the free training as well?
Matt: Chaz started it and then we came on a bit later. Mark came on and then I came on a lot later.
Daryl: How did that happen if you can share the details?
Matt: Go ahead Mark.
Mark: I’m sorry, which part? How did what happen?
Daryl: Chaz started it and then how did you guys start working together and being a part of it?
Mark: Firstly, I came in when I saw the quality of the work Chaz was putting out. It took a long time of us talking and just me seeing what he was doing before I was comfortable becoming a part of it jus6 because. That’s a fancy drink there Daryl. I’m not going to show my bottle anymore after seeing that. Way to just one-up, bud.
Daryl: It’s Vietnam, its normal.
Mark: Very true man. I saw the quality and it made sense because he’s in-office with us, his whole team’s in-office. Making that ascension made sense when I saw the quality. I was at a point where we had an opportunity to open this office in Ilo-Ilo and with another partner.
That was a point where I was using, I had a really nice team and it was unbearable, it sucked and I’m like, “Man, we need to build these teams out a little bit differently,” and we did. More recently I brought Matt in since we worked pretty well together on the LCT stuff. It made sense. It’s just an additional synergy in-house to be able to work on this stuff.
Daryl: That makes sense. It’s pretty cool. What service exactly is it you guys do with Web-20? You mentioned a few of them I think but what’s the … do you want to name a few more of what it does?
Matt: One of the ones I’m most proud of is probably the GMB optimization. That’s a pretty cool service. A lot of people are having great success with that and then we also have a monthly link building thing where they build absolutely beautiful links, just a perfect link. You won’t find something like that. It’s pretty good.
Daryl: What kind of links?
Matt: There’s all kinds, let’s see. There’s some edu., document sharing, sound and audio clip sites, videos, rich media citations.
Mark: There’s a Google. They build an entire Google link wheel every month. The Google authority stacking with the drive, the docs, the spreadsheets, slides and it’s gorgeous. Most of the times you order an outsourced link building and you get a link.
The problem is that there’s a huge problem with that because aside from the fact they look pretty, no one cares that they look pretty, it’s about the effectiveness. If the link sucks, it’s either not going to stay on Google’s public index. Google’s not going to keep just a blank profile with a link in their index very long or can get deleted by the main site. Each thing is uploaded with content. It’s a lot of work put into it but it’s gorgeous.
The GMB SEC, we have 50%. It’s a one-off thing. 50% of the people that use it hit the three-pack. 70% see massive increase just off of one-time optimization service. I’m really proud of that one. I’m proud of everything. The IFTTTs are sick, they’re beautiful. There’s a lot that goes in that. People don’t appreciate that. There is so much that goes into making those things work.
Matt: That’s what Web-20 started with were those IFTTT setups and then moved into other services.
Daryl: Like you were saying before, it allows people to basically make the business more sellable because it’s not a mess, it’s not just them doing it, it’s a system, you just go out and pay for the service and they get ranked. Do they get everything from you guys or do they still need to build up their own PBN and stuff? Is there anything they need to do on themselves or is it total leave you guys to it?
Mark: We sell PBNs as well.
Matt: Yeah, we have everything.
Mark: We’re restructuring, we even have a White Label package there now. We’re in the process of creating a few other White Labels. It’s just because the economy has scaled with how we have our team structure. We spent a lot of money on just testing what works to get that dream team in place and now we’re just going to be able to offer.
You go into a larger platform, not to mention any names like PosiRank or HOTH but not to mention any names, you’re going to spend a ton of cash. You just are. PosiRank, this stuff’s expensive considering people are trying to use these for a local client.
We’re going to be able to come in and deliver better results. We’re probably going to have a 299, 499, those type of price ranges. Once we finish rolling that out, it’s going to be killer for anyone who wants to use it.
Daryl: It sounds awesome. I’m really interested about the team you guys have to manage all that stuff because I imagine it’s pretty crazy. How big as a starting point is the team?
Mark: In Ilo-Ilo?
Mark: I think we’re up to 30 people with the new guys we just brought on and then in-house we … I should be able to look out like I see some people through this. We have really creepy stalker windows in the office where I can look out.
Matt: Those aren’t weird.
Mark: It’s just I feel like they’re unnecessary. I’m looking at Chaz’s office right now, I see Jessie out there. We have, one, two, three, Alex works from home most of the time, one, two, three, four. We have six people in-house. Sorry that’s embarrassing. I don’t know how many we have at Ilo-Ilo but not right where I come in every day.
We have six people in-house right now because I had to do some firing, I forgot about Char. That’s generally seven people or something like that. Between five and 10, not less than five, no more than maybe seven or eight or I don’t know, it’s a little bit strange I don’t know that.
Daryl: Is it all in-house, the team that delivers the entire service that there’s no VAs or anything it’s just totally in-house?
Mark: Yeah, all in-house.
Daryl: Have you worked with VAs and stuff? Could you say what the difference is between managing both?
Mark: It’s not comparable. I mean, VAs are … my best VAs cannot hold a candle to our team. It’s because think about it, how I used to structure VA teams, just putting this out there is I have a guy in Romania and this always switches but I always had an eastern European. I just feel like I could always communicate really well with him.
There’s not as much of a language barrier than some of like the southeast Asian countries. I’m not really well-cultured. I just felt like I could always communicate with, admittedly, I always felt like I could communicate with eastern Europeans better. That would be like my manager, the head and they would manage the independent VAs.
I had a decent system, admittedly that cost me a ton of money to get that decent system. People will flake. The thing is if they get flaked in-house, they get fired and we have an HR team which is ran by one of our partners. I think he still has a woman in there that helps.
They go to a college and recruit. They’ll bring someone in and it’s the turnarounds. Who on this call ever had a VA that was amazing and just flaked one day and you never heard from them again, Daryl, right?
Daryl: VA thing, it happens, yeah.
Mark: It happens, your best VA, people we had do development work, design gorgeous stuff and the next day it’s just like where did this person go? It’s all the time.
Matt: They just disappear.
Mark: Yeah, it’s like you’d think that they’re dead.
Daryl: Later they’d pop back again and be like, “Hey, what’s going on?”
Mark: “Hey, do you have any work?” What? Where were you? Did you just take a sabbatical from your job? You don’t run into that and it’s the quality control’s just insane. To be able to go to get on a flight, go over and sit with your team and walk them through things, our partner’s over there again.
He just spent most of the summer over there. He came home for a couple of weeks and went back. To be able to do that, you’re just never going to get that level of synergy, of quality of systems using independent VAs and it’s just how it is.
Daryl: It’s probably way better and I can imagine why that makes sense, there must be some growing pains and difficulties and stuff that come with it.
Mark: If you were to do this without having like Ken who obviously is a native and the communication’s killer, he can take an SOP I make and he’s going to put it. A lot of people don’t understand that there are subtle differences in languages.
Obviously I imagine people those differences in languages but even someone who’s like, “Ken, that was terrible,” but you can converse with them perfectly, there are still going to be certain things where there are certain nuances and tonalities they’re not going to pick up on. It’s a language thing.
Some people, some nationalities take things very literal. If you say, “Do it just like you did this,” you’re going to get a product like, “I explained this terribly.” It’s always going to be that barrier. Having someone that can do the communication and go over and say, “This is how American Mark said it. Here’s how we would say this.”
There’s a difference, there just is. Having someone to bridge that is going to save your life. Without that I probably would have drove my head through a wall because there would have been a lot more growing pains to get them trained. I don’t know if you got that but what do you think some of the other issues are Matt? I don’t know. That would be the one where I think we’re just really lucky to have someone.
Matt: Yeah. Just having boots on the ground in that country where he understands the culture and all that, that’s important. It’s hard to assemble that team remotely.
Mark: Yeah, for sure. You also have to think a lot of different countries have different policies on foreigners renting and owning commercial space. There’s something like that there where if without Ken I’m not sure it would have even be a reality. It would have been a very expensive reality, probably we had to go over there and pay people off.
Matt: He took care of most of the growing pain with that.
Daryl: That’s pretty cool. What are your roles today then, what do you guys spend your time on individually?
Matt: I work on a lot of stuff with funnels. I’m currently trying to migrate a couple of different things like migrate to click funnels, a different payment processor, a different membership site and so and so. I’ll be doing some stuff with technical things. I like the funnel work, that’s pretty fun.
Daryl: Yeah, I like that stuff.
Mark: That’s something we got really good at too. I think people get intimidated by just the idea of a funnel and there are a lot of pieces. I think sometimes people think a landing page that captures the e-mail and then sends them to a sales page is not really a funnel. It’s having Matt setup our e-mail automation. We have set a blank there.
That’s something I talked about on the webbie yesterday too. I did a free webbie showing people how to apply that to their agency, a bunch of e-mail automations and stuff. It’s time consuming and it does have some technical hurdles for people who aren’t technically savvy but we dig it really good.
Just the whole, it’s like an onion, you need the funnel itself with the pages, the e-mail automation, the aftercare, the customer experience once they come into the brand. That’s something Matt’s been doing a lot more of too. I don’t mean to speak for you. I just interrupted and then started adding to what you do.
Just the customer experience, sending gifts, different on-boarding experiences, he and his girlfriend put together some killer stuff for a mastermind we were going to do and then just gave it away for free to OPB people. It’s just incredible. It’s almost like the little things you can do for your business to have a dramatic impact. Matt and I were talking about it. We compared it to, and this is funny, you guys are Mac users. Daryl, do you still have the box your Mac came in?
Mark: Really? Dude, you’d be one of the few that do. I ask this on the web. I still have my iPhone box, my Fitbit box.
Daryl: I think I might have just dumped it all at my parents’ house. It might still be there, I don’t know.
Mark: That’s fair.
Matt: It’s nice to use it if you’re moving, it’s nice to pack it up and that’s why I kept it. I was moving somewhere or something like that and it’s a cool box.
Daryl: It’s a nice box though.
Mark: When you open it, it’s like an experience. Everything’s packed a certain way.
Matt: It just fits on so tightly. If you lift it up, it’d just slide out slowly. It is really an experience. I need to relax. I’m getting too excited about Macs right now.
Mark: You are getting pumped. You have the talk like, “Pop another button and let’s get wild.”
Matt: It comes with Macs.
Mark: We get really passionate about the un-boxing experience around here Daryl. Just that experience, we wanted to mimic that. Apple and here, you guys are both Apple lovers so you can hate me for this but Apple, I don’t know if they’ve ever really made an innovative product. Let’s be serious. They’re marketing machines. I guarantee you they probably put more thought into that box than they did their iPhone, sorry. I’m like a hater of Apple. I have an Apple phone.
Matt: I’ll disconnect you now.
Mark: I know but seriously if you think about it, they’re not a really innovative product for years, they’re marketers. Things like customer experience, how you perceive the value of their product. That’s engineered. They’re brilliant with that stuff.
Daryl: What are some tips you guys have for them with improving that customer experience that you guys have tested?
Mark: For agencies?
Daryl: Yeah, sure.
Mark: Go ahead Matt. Matt you had just done some things recently, take that one away man.
Matt: Yeah. We’ve been looking at customers that spend over a certain amount. We’re now sending them gift towers. It’s this really cool thing where it’s a bunch of boxes full of these candies and treats. We’re just sending stuff out like that.
I’m going to start sending out some books with the Emyth and then some coupons and stuff. Just something that when you’re buying marketing service you’re not expecting to get something in the mail. I think that goes a long way.
Daryl: When you do, you expect it to be like an up-sell.
Mark: That’s another thing and this is something Matt started doing a lot. I hated it at first. Just giving things away and a lot of people say, “If you give something away you should have, as soon as they get it, there should be a sale. Honestly you’d probably make more money doing that. That’s probably not bad advice. We found like the Datazen, Matt would be like, “I’m going to give the …” He gave so many PRs away. He’s like, “I’m just going to give this person a press release.” I’m cool with it. I love giving value but I was to the point where I was like, “My God man, how many are you …”
Matt: Are we even profiting?
Mark: I’m like, “Are we profiting anymore?” You can see when you give someone something. I ran a contest for a citation, Web-20 started offering citation. I said, “Listen, we’re going to give a ton of …” we’re going to give a thousand dollars’ worth of the review copies away just to review copies, just for people to check it out, let us know what they think.
We gave one guy a review copy, he went and just bought a huge PBN package from the site. There was no up-sell. We didn’t. I don’t care if people up-sell on that. I want you to check our product out. We were noticing from the PR that we gave a bunch of PRs away and they come and buy a five-pack right out the door.
It wasn’t our intention to make a sale. It really wasn’t. It was just to provide like, “Hey, there’s an issue, let’s make it right,” or, “This person’s awesome, they’re contributing a lot and let’s give them something,” just to increase engagement, just to keep morale up, keep people happy. That’s what it’s all about. You’re building a community. Just to see the back end of that. That’s another big thing. Don’t be afraid to offer that value because it will come back.
Matt: We get like appreciate your business. I mean, they deserve to get stuff like that. You’ve got to treat them well so they’ll come back.
Mark: That’s what a lot of people don’t do in this industry. They don’t reward a loyal customer base.
Daryl: You should.
Mark: You should in any business. This stuff you can apply to any business. If you’re a contractor and you have a big general contractor, big builder who gives you a bunch of sub-work, you should be sending him gifts.
Seriously, there’s always going to be like, “Is that ethical?” At the end of the day, he’s providing 30-40% of your construction business’ income, you should be sending this guy gifts. You should be really treating this guy well. He should be regretting if he ever would use someone else. It’s the same idea to provide value.
Daryl: Especially with clients. When you have someone paying you $2,000 a month and you’d send them an e-mail once a month and don’t do anything for them at all, it’s silly.
Mark: Exactly, if you think about it. It’s cheap to do this stuff. What does those gift towers cost Matt, 30 bucks?
Matt: I think its 40 bucks with shipping out the door in the US.
Mark: I’m going to leave, I’ll go. I’m sorry.
Matt: It is 32 bucks plus nine bucks in shipping so you’re wrong.
Mark: It’s a drop in the bucket. Even if your client’s paying a thousand a month, it’s a drop in the bucket just to treat them well. They have some cool stuff. What is it, GiftTree.com or something? They have some really cool stuff. You can give wine packages I think, chocolates. If you take care of people, that’s impactful to get that.
Daryl: Do you guys not spend much time on your businesses outside of LCT like your agency, your lead-gen stuff? Is that just running pretty smoothly at this point?
Matt: I’m mostly focused on LCT and Web-20 Ranker myself at the moment and my lead-gen stuff’s just running. I’m not putting much into growing that at the moment.
Mark: I brought in a team of interns from LCT that’s working with the manager to help scale my lead-gen. They’ll get some points in the lead-gen sites and just let them tap some of the resources I have. I just had a guy come in for a really informal interview yesterday looking to scale up acquisition, bring him in-house fulltime to scale up acquisition. My biggest contribution to LCT at this point is content. I’m really happy with that. I’m comfortable with that because for me to jump on something like this or do a webbie or knockout a blog post like a core competency, it’s not a big drain on me. Web-20, I do, it’s like marketing type stuff. It’s not a drain for me.
I have the fitness brand that I love. Matt got me lifting probably six months ago. I haven’t been doing it long but it’s a big passion and I’m fat, sexy and strong, Daryl. That took off and I’m really into expanding the product line. I have a lot. I’m busy but I’m trying to do better with it.
Matt helped a lot with this. He’s creating a lot more structure trying to focus on taking a project and breaking it into its simplest tasks and forms like lead measures. If you’re not busy you’re probably broke. I’d rather be busy than broke.
Daryl: If everything setup in a way that, I’m just making up examples, like if you wanted to disappear for a month or something, would everything fall apart or is the system and the team and everything, it would run smoothly for both of you guys?
Matt: I don’t know. Maybe a few weeks, I don’t know. Maybe a week, we could probably get away with that.
Mark: Is Matt’s audio really weird to you Daryl?
Daryl: I was just thinking that that was me.
Mark: Were you not going to say that?
Matt: Is it messed up?
Mark: Yeah, it’s really creepy.
Daryl: Yup. It’s like what we were saying earlier. Your lighting and then plus the audio.
Mark: You obviously had a lighting specialist and an audio engineer come get you setup for the day.
Matt: (Robot Sounds coming from mic)
Daryl: We’re just leave it. It’s quite entertaining.
Mark: You just sound like a robot if I’m being honest, robo static.
Matt: Is that better?
Daryl: Yup. That’s a lot better.
Mark: Listen to you. It went from Doctor Roboto to Barry Manilow in 2.5.
Matt: I could just have a lot of light be shining on my face too if you guys think that’ll help.
Mark: It’s natural light.
Daryl: It’s fine.
Mark: You do. I just have the natural office light coming in. We obviously are professionals Daryl if you didn’t notice by now we just do a lot of this. Matt you said you could go for a couple of weeks and things would be alright.
Matt: We have something that does run on its own but we’re also trying to actively grow some projects. That would holt so we wouldn’t want to holt that. Some of our core things like LBB can keep going. We have some codes now in place and we have people running ads and stuff and the funnel’s setup for it. There’s a lot of stuff that’s hands off but we’re just actively trying to grow some really cool projects. We wouldn’t want to take a month off right now. We’re just really excited about these projects.
Mark: I’ve seen many businesses that are in hyper growth mode to where I just want to be comfortable. My agency I think would run pretty well without me. I like being there, seeing what’s going on and just being a control freak.
Just being a nightmare to my employees and people I work with, with just picking stuff apart, changing stuff. I’m terrible. You have to be. I just like things a certain way with the SEO. I feel like other people aren’t going to take that as serious even though they do fine for me. I like to be in there to make sure they’re doing it my way all the time, every minute of the day.
Daryl: Nice. What are some big lessons you guys have gotten from running a big community and also selling services like you guys do a lot of SEOs?
Matt: We’ve learned with services, you’re probably going to fail at launching some of them. We’ve launched several services that did not do well or the business model didn’t make sense, the partners didn’t make sense.
It’s all just a learning process. You have to just take action on that stuff and then figure out what it works, cut out what doesn’t.
Daryl: With the services that didn’t work, were there particular reasons? You guys have a decent sized community as well to offer them to.
Matt: Some sucked it in. It depended on the service. I think that the first thing we’re doing, we’re doing something like a White Label thing and we just didn’t have the right infrastructure or reporting or dashboard setup for it so it didn’t do too well.
Mark: A lot of the stuff was more on infrastructural. I mean, we have a community that if they like it they’ll buy. If we don’t feel like say for the White Label, we did a page one, six-month or your money back guarantee which is unheard of but because that intro price is a little bit … it would have been different if we could have on-boarded a hundred people at once and then each of them onboard 10 or 15 clients.
We could have scaled the infrastructure differently and quicker. We could have put a lot more into the infrastructure but because of the higher price point, people weren’t as eager to jump onboard. It was a little bit slow to come off the ground and stuff happens.
A lot of its infrastructure and you don’t realize them until you get going. We were doing a lot of stuff with just auction domains and stuff and there’s just a lot to that that people typically want to think and that that entails, plus the fact we’re spending 500, a thousand, 1,500 a domain. We buy 20 something domains and build them in a month. It’s just a slower process.
You deal with taking content from the archive and getting DMCA takedowns. That happens. We’re seeing that about 10%. We have a couple sites that are sitting unplugged right now because I ignored the takedown notices.
I was like, “Get out of here. You’re not going to really take it down.” They did. That’s becoming like that was so much more relaxed, just a year ago. It’s getting to be more of a problem. I think you’re going to see it more if you buy on the auctions because those are more authoritative. We were buying sites that were real sites authority if they moved their names or for whatever reason they don’t use that domain anymore but a lot of them still exists. I believe that probably is an auction-centric situation issue but it’s something to look out for when you’re buying authoritative domains like that. You should just spend the extra money to build out a unique site. We’re seeing about 10 to 15% of those get DMCA takedown notices.
Daryl: That’s quite a fast track.
Mark: It’s something you don’t foresee when you move into it. You don’t foresee all the moving parts. If we can’t provide a killer service, we’re just going to can it. Again, if you’re not canning services, you’re probably not a service-based business. You could offer one service and do really well and be fine forever but if you really want to grow and say, “We’re going to have 10, 15, 30 services. If you’re not killing off services, you’re not launching enough products.
You’re always going to have failed products. Every company always does. I’m not ashamed of it but it’s very true, you need to be prepared for that. If something doesn’t work you can’t cry in your Cheerios and not get out there and do something the different the next day.
Daryl: It pretty much applies to anything like trying out new things and expect some to fail like it doesn’t matter, it’s part of the process.
Mark: Yeah. Don’t be afraid to kill it. It’s not a failure. It’s only a failure if you don’t learn something from it and I probably stole that from someone a lot richer and smarter than me but it worked.
Matt: Something you did that I think was a new concept was the platonic bathing.
Mark: The platonic bathing, you don’t know until you try. I just feel like we should be more eco conscious. We need to conserve water. We need to have a better planet. There’s nothing weird about a few bros just having a platonic bath after gym time together.
Not that Matt and I would do that. I’m not saying that but if we would it wouldn’t be weird. Sorry, Daryl. We should have given Daryl a sorry in advance. When he came and asked both of us to be on at once, he knew he was setting himself up for something. We’re very mind. We’re being respectful.
Daryl: Fair enough. Let’s go back a little bit on back stories of how do you guys get into SEO way back?
Matt: I guess I always considered myself an internet guy, whatever that means, just cruising the internet.
Mark: Cruising the AOL chat rooms. Sorry.
Matt: I was just always going on the internet like always on Reddit or something like that and I went to school for supply chain management and I end up taking up marketing course and I never thought I’d like marketing. I loved it so I thought internet marketing might be a good start and I end up working with this guy for a few months and I went from there, went into lead-gen.
Daryl: Awesome, that’s simple enough.
Matt: If I had to do it all over again, I definitely wouldn’t have gone to school. I just would have put that in my intellect starting a business. I think you learn way more from that.
Daryl: Definitely I think yeah, every business owner says that.
Mark: I agree. I’m very anti-education but for me I was helping, I had equity in two construction companies I was helping with more traditional marketing stuff. It was like family businesses. I wasn’t, at that young age, I just wasn’t going out facilitating equity deals.
This family stuff I had a share to help with some of the traditional marketing, do some marketing management stuff. At the time I was outsourcing the digital aspect of it. We had these companies we were paying. Just in the one company we were paying five grand a month for them to do an SEO and we’re talking eight years ago.
SEO was like if you couldn’t rank for any, do you know what I mean? It was a different world to rank in. It’s nothing like today. We were getting zero leads. I just started reflecting on that. I’m like, “Man, if these guys could charge that much money and not deliver results, how much could I charge if I delivered results?” I cashed out. I cashed out of the businesses and invested in learning. I was always a gifted salesperson just because I did a general sales approach. I don’t hard sell. I don’t guilt people into giving me money. I’m charismatic when it comes to dealing with people and selling a dream. I think people can see if I’m passionate about something I show it.
I’ve always been good at getting people. If what I was saying was conducive with their mindset or if they thought it would work, it was easy for me to reel people in and I started moving on up.
Matt: Why did I start mine with saying I was an internet guy? That was probably the weirdest I said right there.
Mark: I liked it though because it set me …
Matt: Yah, cruising.
Mark: Cruising the internet yeah but it set me up to say cruising the AOL chat rooms so I’m not upset about it at all.
Matt: I was just giving you a chance to say that.
Mark: What percent and this is serious, what percent of internet marketers in general, SEOs, it doesn’t matter, what percent had a username on AOL that either had 69 in it or skate, SK-8 like SK8terboy. What percent of IM-ers do you think had a handle like that? I believe it’s probably 70% if I’m being honest.
Mark: It probably is.
Matt: In my AOL profile I put Matt Stack but I spelled the S with the money sign because I thought I was cool.
Mark: That’s a classy move for that. Classy dudes make classy moves.
Matt: Very tasteful.
Mark: I can appreciate it buddy. In your defense you’re probably only 24.
Matt: Yeah I was only 27. It was like three years ago. My first screen name was, this is a little embarrassing but I had an obsession with Albert Einstein. I was younger. Was that a coconut you’re drinking?
Mark: Is this the first time you’re noticing this?
Matt: I didn’t see it so I was just picturing like a chalice because I didn’t see it before. I didn’t know what he’s drinking out of.
Mark: He’s drinking from a large fruit.
Matt: I was obsessed with Albert Einstein. I have a life-sized poster, a regular poster, an Albert Einstein stamp collection, a T-shirt. I was swagged out Albert Einstein. My screen name was Albert618 just because I like Einstein.
Mark: Albert what?
Matt: 618, that’s the number of people I’ve killed in the streets.
Mark: That’s funny you said that because I think Tupac had a similar AOL handle. It would make sense.
Matt: He’s like Tesla618.
Matt: I wish I still had that life-sized poster.
Mark: Of Tupac or Albert Einstein?
Matt: Albert Einstein. I got that science son.
Mark: We still have the cutouts of Tupac.
Daryl: I’m changing the topic so we can get some content out of this. You guys do is it weekly wins or as often in your group every week?
Matt: I was doing that for a while. I think it was the best three weeks on that.
Daryl: What’s some big breakthroughs or wins you guys have had in your internet business history?
Mark: Us personally or people in the group?
Daryl: You guys personally.
Mark: Okay, sorry. Go ahead Matt. I didn’t mean to interrupt you. I just wanted to clarify.
Matt: I would say some of our wins are just some of the projects we launched successfully with LCT. Just even getting local profit breakthrough off the ground was pretty cool. It took a lot of work from then to do all that and figuring out different systems with that.
Daryl: Do you want to explain what it is if someone doesn’t know?
Matt: That’s our paid membership. It’s a monthly membership where there’s all kinds of training in there, everything like selling local marketing and ranking and just everything you need to know to be a local online marketer.
Mark: I think with the NAE videos we would put in I think we have well over 300 and some videos that trip out over the course of time. For the price you can’t beat it. We could put any price tag on it but we wanted to decrease it, make it accessible for people just try to add value.
I’d say a PR for me in the marketing world would be, I’m still really proud of this, everyone hears me brag about it from time to time but I did 120K in 10 days closing sales on the phone. I’d love to shoot to break that but the opportunity hasn’t arose but it almost did. I was very adamant about it like I was aggressive. I want to beat that record at some point.
It doesn’t seem like, obviously people do more in sales but for the product I’m selling. I just noticed I’m swinging in my chair. I’m like a big kid. I’m like in a multicolored hook just swinging.
Matt: I’m swinging crazily luckily you just can’t see it.
Mark: That’s awesome. It’s like we’re just a bunch of real freaks here and Daryl’s drinking from a coconut regretting this entire thing. That’s a big win man and it’s cool. Here’s the thing. It’s easy to say, “I broke a certain income goal or I did a lot of sales,” but one of the biggest things that can help any business to sell, you have to celebrate your wins. Celebrate the small wins.
If you had a productive workday, celebrate. If you like to go home and play video games or drink a little vodka or whatever, why did I say that? That’s very specific. If you like to drink three shots of vodka to unwind but whatever you enjoy doing. If you want to go for a jog, a nature hike, I don’t know, play with your kid.
Just take the day. Celebrate it. Celebrate the fact that you’re making these wins. That’s important. Enough people don’t do that. They don’t break everything up into smaller goals. You can say, “I want to add,” I don’t know where anyone’s income’s at but say, “I want to get to 100,000 a month,” that’s a always a big popular number.
In order to do that, if you just write 100K on the wall and start working towards it, how many wins are you going to celebrate until you get there? You’re not. Your entire psyche’s going to be focused on when I hit 100K I’m going on this vacation or I’m pretty much going to pop bottles in the club with Matt and 50 Cent.
He has an OPB video where he’s pretty much making it rain with 50 Cent. You can watch our YouTube channel if you don’t believe me. It’s 100% legit, not print screen at all. They have these goals and there are so many wins on the way to any goal. There are so many wins, celebrate them, break it out. It’s a big thing with lead measures.
For instance, a weight loss, you can say, “Yeah, I’d love to get 40 pounds off,” but you have to celebrate five at a time. You have to celebrate your wins. It doesn’t mean you take off and that’s good enough. You don’t want to become complaisant but you need to celebrate your wins.
Just like Matt said, launching some of the small stuff. Some big wins for me are creating a piece of content that people love. That’s awesome to really see people like, “This is really awesome, it’s valuable.” That’s a win for me. Sometimes people just barge into my office like that. I’ll see you a little later. I’m live, being recorded so just close my office. Bye. God, mom, it actually was my mom too, she comes to my office.
She brought me some, I pay her to do my meal prep because that’s just something I don’t have time to do since I’m on my diet so she comes and brings my food into the office every day and it’s like it’s okay to barge in the office. It does sound like, “God, mom.” Everybody’s probably going, “That’s funny,” but that really was my mom.
Daryl: Anything to add to what you were saying if you still remember what the topic was?
Mark: Not really, sorry. No, it was pretty much done. You just have to break your goals down and celebrate it along the way no matter what it is, five pounds loss, lifting a little heavier one day, getting or landing another client. Sure maybe the client was 1,500 a month and you want to add another 10 grand a month to your income. You just have to celebrate the micros. You can’t just celebrate the big factors.
Daryl: I had someone talk about gamification before and that it’s almost like a game into the next level. Even the SEO ranking sites up, it’s like competing against Google or competing against other people trying to rank. It’s basically turning it into a game in our heads which makes it way more fun.
Mark: That’s cool. Gamification’s huge for anything. Marketing and anything, people love games. I love games. People love competition. That’s pretty solid. Whatever you have to do, whatever works for you, right?
Mark: I support whatever works for people but just make sure you’re doing something, not putting unrealistic goals on your whiteboard and getting down on yourself and it’s like, “I’ve been spending a year trying to achieve this goal.”
That’s not something. If it’s going to take you a year to achieve that goal maybe it doesn’t belong on the whiteboard. Maybe you should start breaking it down and whiteboard-ing some of the smaller stuff to get you there.
Daryl: What about on the opposite scale? What are some big mistakes you guys have made with your online businesses?
Mark: How much more time do you have?
Daryl: Just to name one but we’re good.
Matt: Like I was saying, we had a lot of those failed services and stuff. We learned so much from it I’m not mad we launched and failed.
Daryl: I think most mistakes are like something you reflect on and regret and everything like that. A lot of them are just lessons. I’m just curious what some of those big mistakes that you’ve learned from have been.
Matt: One thing, I guess it’s not really a mistake but I want to touch on this. One thing we ended up implementing that really helped us out a lot reach our goals is we started using the scrum methodology in doing sprints to really aggressively get stuff done that we needed to do. That helped us launch projects so much faster.
Daryl: I think I’ve seen about scrum before but I’m not clear on that stuff. I’m sure some people may not know what it is. Do you want to explain a little bit about how that works?
Matt: Sure. We don’t even do the full thing with it but we implement part of it. Basically you take a period of time like a week or two weeks or a month, we usually do a week and you list all the most essential tasks you want to get done for that.
You assign that to the week whatever you think you can get done and then you just bust them out. You’re supposed to assign a weight to them in terms of how long it’ll take so that then you’re figuring out and you give these tests like a point value so then you can start tallying at the end of the week how many points you’re getting done and then you figure out where your bottlenecks were so you can try to get even more points the next week. It just helped with our focus too by breaking it all down. It has just been really helpful for rapidly launching stuff.
Daryl: That makes sense. I’ve seen a lot. It’s a developer thing, isn’t it? It comes from developers I’ve seen. Yeah, cool. He’s got a book.
Mark: This is going to turn into a book review. Really nice, Matt, really nice.
Matt: This is really good and then also this one’s really good. I’ve listened to this audio book three times.
Mark: Matt pulls up to the gym with his stereo system pumping, you can hear the bass rattling and then when he opens his door it’s just an audio book playing really loudly. I’m not even kidding. He’s into the audio books which is great, whatever the easiest consumable way.
Just back to … I’d say the biggest negative you’re going to find is probably during client acquisition. That’s for me too. People try something and if it doesn’t just create an ROI right away, people panic. It’s cool because there are ways to do client acquisition with very little capital. We teach the video profit stuff. I think you teach some client acquisition stuff Daryl if I’m right.
Daryl: A few of the similar stuff as well like video audits and stuff as well.
Mark: Very low capital, right?
Mark: You don’t need … but now you also talk about, I’m pretty sure it was Armando, a great guy by the way but talk about the lumpy mail. You need capital for that. Do you know what I mean? It’s a different environment especially right now, I think Ed and those guys, they’re sending out, I can’t remember how much it costs, that was terrible to even bring that up because I don’t remember what he said it’s costing him but maybe it’s like five bucks packed and shipped which doesn’t sound crazy if you’re spending a thousand a time. You can’t send 10 or 20 or 50. You have to send a lot to get real data.
Daryl: And follow up.
Mark: If you’re talking to someone … what’s that?
Daryl: And follow up as well.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely a huge part of acquisition. If you’re not following up you’re leaving probably 50% of your leads in the table. I agree with you there. People who invest in something whether it’s Facebook
Ads or send some mail, they’ll do something that doesn’t require a lot of capital and it doesn’t just work, it’s not like magic like bang, it’s done, it’s working.
They get discouraged and it happens no matter what scale you are. The end of last year, the end of 2015, this is what we call the dark ages in the office. We don’t refer to that but I was in a slump and man, I hemorrhaged just on the sales process, the lead-gen and the sales team I had.
We probably hemorrhaged 40,000 bucks, just gone, no ROI, none. That’s it. It’s gone. That was just on the sales aspect. That doesn’t include any other thing I was doing because I don’t believe in saving money. I invest in things aggressively. I’m always seeing different fluctuations here and there. That was a hurt piece. It’s just something to keep in mind and client acquisition is something I’m damn good at. I scaled a big agency, I’ll be a little arrogant about sales acquisition, I’m really good at that and that’s when people think these people that teach stuff, their business runs perfectly, there’s never a mistake.
They couldn’t be more wrong. My mistakes are the scale of level. Where you lose four grand, I’m losing 40 grand and it happens. You have to be able to take those on the chin and keep going. That’s one of my biggest. As far as a financial failure in my agency, that probably would have been it and it happens. Live and learn.
Daryl: It’s interesting. Let’s get on to a final topic and we can wrap it up because I don’t know how much time you guys have, we’ve gone quite long. Just a little bit about what SEO is specifically, ranking and stuff and things like that. I’d be quite interested because a lot of chat recently about the SERP update or whatever it is that’s recently washed. Do you guys have any thoughts on that while we’re on the call now?
Mark: Sure. Firstly, I have to do one more shameless self-plug. No sale but we did a webbie on it. There was no sale on the webbie. We’re doing just value webbies. It was me, Mike, Jacob.
Matt: It was us.
Mark: That’s right. It was us three. Chaz came on the next week for the Symantec stuff. I’d say the biggest thing I personally witnessed was the maps’ fluctuations for local specific where your map dropped out of the three-pack.
As far as organic, a lot of my stuff already back out. I didn’t note it. I guess some people got hit a lot harder and it’s going to go back to of course Google said there was no update. That was funny. It was typical of them as well.
Here’s the thing, Google’s been playing with an update for a while. This wasn’t a weekend thing and anyone who tracks a lot of the sites has been seeing it. Do you remember the update; it might have been 45 days ago where they did it and then reversed the update?
Mark: Come on, get your shit together guys. How much money do you … like seriously, you’re the most intelligent engineers working on your algo, get it together. Like I would be able to do any of that, I’m sitting talking about that trash I want them to know but at the same time if you think about it, ever since then I’ve been noticing weird fluctuations here and there where we’d see a keyword that’s just stable. I’m talking like a keyword like we have pinned to one in San Antonio for months, it wasn’t budging and you just see it drop to number eight and then the next day it’d be back up to number one. When you see fluctuations like that continuously, they’re tweaking the algo.
They’re doing something. They’re trying to split-test something. What? We can speculate, right? In the grand scheme of things I have a pretty decent data set, I’m sure you do as well. A lot of the SEOs that teach and stuff were tracking a bunch of sites but in the grand scheme of things, it’s such a tiny piece of data compared to the 80 trillion sites in the public index. We have this much data but a lot of those even doubt. The thing is I stay. I try not to even feed into it. I build content and I build links. I try to stay. I’ve been getting more aggressive. It seems like the local services but my national services are responding awesome too, just aggressiveness, anchor text aggressiveness.
I’m building a lot more aggressively. Is it going to be sustainable? I think so because I’m also padding it with pillowing links and content. I’m just getting reckless and be like a hundred links, a hundred PBN links to the money site this month. It’s not that aggressive but the whole thing where you see people saying, “We’re going to trip three PBNs this month.” That’s fine if that’s your strategy and it works but for me it’s like I’ve been getting a lot more aggressive.
Matt: Making it rain.
Mark: What are you going to do? Daddy doesn’t get paid unless some sites are ranking, Daryl. Sorry.One of the biggest things we’ve seen with maps and it’s really cool because we have Web-20. We do all the optimization that we do.
We got to sit down and look at hundreds of maps and what responded well to certain things, that’s the definition of an unfair advantage, seriously that was really cool. We had our clients plus we could go and look at everyone else. The things that dropped and this is right out of the webbie, we talked about this, it’s not like some big secret at this point but the things that drop seem to respond well, the maps portion to a freshness type thing.
Listen, I’m not an engineer at Google. There could be people that say, “Listen, we’ve done all this and it didn’t work.” I get it, every situation’s going to be different but all this stuff isn’t expensive to do. If you do all three things and it doesn’t work, I don’t know, sue me. It’s very inexpensive so it’s not like you have to do this huge and spend thousands of dollars, excuse me, thousands of dollars, I don’t know what just happened there. The one thing was re-tweeting different URLs of the GMB, not just the main GMB but the different URLs through Twitter. We know Google loves Twitter. It gives it the freshness, diversifies the different URLs. Do that.
We ran one with a press release with a GMB link and you get hundreds and hundreds of the press release sites. The final thing was JC suggested, JC Blake, we’re working on some stuff with him, a good dude, really cool guy but he’s taking the GMB and putting the GMB link in a video and then imbedding the video on web tubes that he’s juicing up.
You have the link inside the video that’s getting all these different imbeds and then pointing links to the imbeds just to give more for indexation than ranking juice for the GMB obviously. Something we discussed very briefly on the webbie was again, I don’t think we’re seeing these pop back into the three-pack because of link juice.
I think it’s a freshness factor. Here’s another reason I say that is in the GMB package that we offer, we do a lot of stuff like posting GMB on blogger and doing posts. There’s a lot of freshness type stuff and we had very little site, very little GMBs affected and that’s huge. That was really good to see first off because the people were just … if there were the GMBs effect, the people would just be like, “Hey, what did you guys do?” It would have come right back on us.
A lot of this stuff that’s similar to those strategies that are popping things back into the three-pack is the freshness factor. Just that GMB being in other places, it’s getting shared, it’s getting blogged about, it’s getting tweeted out like it looks fresh.
Is freshness a factor in the GMB? I don’t know, we’ll find out but it also leads to a lot of people saying they’re getting reviews and then it dropped. This isn’t the rule across the board. There’s people that dropped that had hundreds of reviews. We have one client who had their reviews deleted and their account suspended.
Now they reinstated the account and they didn’t give us the damn reviews back. It’s not true across the board but a lot of people say, “Reviews don’t affect GMB ranking.” They might not but a freshness factor on the other hand, if they could be part of a freshness algo on the GMB, I don’t know, I’m just saying. I’m trying to simplify or deduce all these things into one common solution.
I could be wrong on the common solution but try the individual things. There’s always going to be variables I don’t know about or you can’t control or Matt doesn’t know about and that’s things like, “How does your home page look?” There’s a specific way to do your home page optimization to help your GMB. Although we did see a disconnect with the blended algo where maps are getting hit but the organic didn’t and that’s something we’re not used to because usually it’s very simple. You either have a blended algo or a disjointed algo. Sites that were showing a blended algo like one dropped and one didn’t, that’s like shit. They might have done a bigger update in the grand scheme of things with looking at the site authority as opposed to the GMB.
It’s still early but a lot of people regain rankings as well, just letting it even out. I don’t know. Hopefully that helps a little bit but it’s just early to tell. My organic didn’t really get hit hard so it was tough for me to really figure out what the problem was with that but my solutions’ always the same, content and links.
Daryl: That’s an awesome answer I think people will get out of that. Let’s talk about PBNs. I’ve been talking a lot about footprints recently, PBN footprints. Some people are terrified and then they come up with these elaborate roles they go through where it’s like they’re only going to connect to a site for a certain proxy at a certain time of day and all these crazy things and other people are a little more relaxed. What fears do you guys have with PBN footprints?
Mark: I don’t anymore. I’ve made so many mistakes. I don’t suggest people be irresponsible with their PBN. Let’s put that out upfront. Don’t be an ass with your PBN. I’ve made so many errors where I’m like, “I had all of these on a VPS and it’s an obvious linking footprint because they all link to the same site,” and that was an issue with me setting up the spreadsheet so the employees could do the linking. I think the spreadsheet up thank goodness for 1 AM work nights and stuff just making stupid mistakes and the list goes on. Here’s the thing, I’ll probably get some backlash for this but I feel like people overestimate Google when it comes to some of the PBN stuff.
I don’t mean to sound like a jerk but none of us are better or big enough to where Google is. They’re really taking a piece of our market share, we need to re-gun at these people’s PBNs. Let’s be serious.
Daryl: I agree especially if have 50-site PBNs like Google is personally after me on my 50 sites.
Mark: Right. It’s paranoia. It’s good to be paranoid to an extent. It’s good to be paranoid enough to where it’s keeping you intelligent, it’s keeping you dotting your eyes and crossing your tees. Here’s my personal opinion and Daryl I’m going to concede to you that you probably know a lot more about PBNs than I do, right? I’ll give you that.
Here’s my advice if you want a nice PBN. This is I rank sites man, it works. Make sure the site build-out looks legit. Spend if you are serious about the PBN, spend on the site build-out. Make it look like it’s not a PBN.
If you have a busted blog sitting there and there’s no build-out persona, you don’t have social profiles connected, you don’t have to make a new … you can do some really sneaky stuff just to make it look real. You don’t have to sit and make your own social profiles. You can do some cool stuff there. You don’t have to just be on the up and up. It’s PBN, you’re already a blackhat. Let’s leave it at the door. You can do a lot of cool stuff with curate-ing other people’s content and social profiles. You could do some cool stuff there but just have it there.
If I can look at your site and say it’s a PBN, believe me, Google’s quality people have a list and if I can see it, they’ll see it. It’s not rocket science. As far as hosting, you have guys like Mike Milas who supports Easy Blog Networks. The guy ranks. I would say don’t use SEO hosting, he’s ranking in Chicago. He has a bunch of clients that work with Mike. He’s the real deal. He ran sites. If he’s saying, “Listen, I’m telling you this works and here’s what I do to make it work,” maybe the hosting footprint’s not something we have to worry about quite so much and if you are worried, go buy shared hosting. Is it expensive? Sure but if you’re really paranoid, that’s the ultimate diversification. It’s just not having them on the same IPs.
I’d say the site build-out is really important.
That’s the biggest thing for me. As far as how you login to the site, I feel like although I do believe Google could access that data through a few different ways, if you really want to put a tinfoil hat on, Google with safe browsing is and then you might as well just put it out the window because that shit, all the browsers share your info, your data. You’re not safe just because you’re in a certain browser. That safe browsing stuff is a little freaky. That’s like, “Maybe my privacy’s been infringed upon.”
If you think they’re using that type of technology to scout your PBNs, you’re insane. No offense but if you think that’s what they’re investing money into that technology, I’m not saying it’s this malicious conspiracy theory stuff either but they’re not worried. If anything they want, they’re gathering marketing data that some people are spying on us.
Man, I don’t know but they’re definitely gathering marketing data and that’s a lot more valuable than your PBNs. Seeing people’s behavior on different platforms, the economy of behavioral data and marketing data far outweighs your 100-site PBN, your thousand-site PBN.
You’re not making a big enough dent. I don’t feel like they’re going to utilize that technology. That’s expensive tech. It’s really expensive stuff. The guys behind that are making 300-500,000 a year. I just feel like we’re not making a big enough dent with PBNs for them to waste those resources on getting our PBNs.
Some people would be like, “Mark, you’re wrong.” Okay, do it your way. I’ll support you doing it your way but at the end of the day, are you doing it because you’re safe or are you almost making an excuse not to take some action? Do you want an ultimate diversification? Find a couple solid vendors and buy links from them.
I mean, then you might have five links from some guy who built his network like a complete jerk, you might buy five others. He’s just as paranoid as you. His stuff’s pristine but your site’s going to have a solid diversification if you use a couple different vendors and they’re all on different IPs, different looking PBNs.
I don’t know but I got lazy a few times and made some errors on PBN stuff. I think a lot of it’s over hyped personally. Like I said, I think you probably have more input on some of the technical stuff. Maybe my advice wasn’t the best like making this site look diversified.
Daryl: I pretty much agree with what you said. I think most people just over think it way too much.
Mark: I’m sure there are some technical things you could bring to the table. It’s like, “Hey, make sure you do this.” Cover your trail. There’s a good chance I don’t do that and maybe someday I’ll pay the price for that but I feel like if we spend too much time thinking about the what-ifs, we’ll never get the reward of the what-if, you just do it.
Matt: What I’m hearing is what you’re trying to say is YOLO.
Mark: You only live once. You should probably just …
Daryl: Just call it YOLO every time someone mentions PBN footprints.
Mark: I saw a really good post on this by Matt Diggity.
Matt: I saw that today was it? It’s been really random.
Mark: Jason contributed to it as well, two solid guys. I don’t know Jason really well but it seems like he’s been around the block. Matt says, “While you’re worrying about this stuff, you could just do it.” In the future, he said about influencing artificial intelligence signals. In my opinion, I don’t even think SEO’s going to exist at all.
If I owned Google, you guys all would have been paying a long time ago. I’m sorry. Chris got mad at me. Chris Trainor lit me up for that one day because I said that years ago in one of the groups. He’s like, “That’s a horrible mindset.” I’m like, “Yeah but dude that’s where the money is. The money is in the service.” I would have been monetizing that stuff differently a long time ago.
You’ve seen algorithms to improve quality, to be paid to play but that’s my thing. I don’t even think SEO’s going to exist in that future. Seriously, I just believe majority is going to be pay to play and we’re talking maybe 10 years down the road.
Daryl: Just leverage it for now while you can?
Mark: That’s what Matt Diggity said. He said Jason. He called me and said, “Jason has been doing this a long time,” and he said, “What was your biggest regret?” When everyone was saying, “When is spam not going to work anymore?”
I mean, do you want to be complaining about spam, when’s it going to stop working? I’d shut the hell up and use it which is what I did. I used to rank sites before I charged the client. I’d get their interest and I’d say, “I’ll rank you first.” It’d take me seven to 14 days, that’s how I got a bunch of my first dental clients, just using terrible linking strategies and just over-optimized on page.
I still have my first dental client to this day and I had to do a lot of modifications to the strategy but he’s still here. He’s my longest standing client obviously. Take action with it man. Modify as you go. I don’t know. It’s my opinion on it. People over think some of the intricacies a little too much.
Daryl: I agree. That’s very awesome. Final question for you guys then, wrap it up. Let me just pick one I want to ask. This is a basic one. If you guys were to start over from scratch and for some reason someone stole your money and left you just a laptop and $500, what would you guys do to start out?
Matt: I’d probably sell shirtless pictures of my dad and autograph it. I think with that you should try to find a partner, find someone with a unique skill set you don’t have and try to work with them on something. I’ve had my biggest gains by working with partners.
Daryl: That’s a good idea.
Mark: That’s a cool question. It’s not the first time I was asked that and I always struggle with it a bit. I have 500 bucks or is the number arbitrary?
Daryl: Say 500. Someone said 500 in the question, let’s leave it at that.
Mark: I still retain all of my skill sets that I have today?
Daryl: Not relationships I guess.
Mark: No relationships?
Matt: You’re missing one.
Mark: I’m missing what?
Matt: One leg. I’m just joking. I’m sorry.
Mark: We’re just turning this into a good time.
Matt: That’s a good point.
Mark: This is probably played out because I just preach it all of the time and the people that use it have hit me and been like, “Hey man, I threw 10K onto my income using this.” The people that use it, it works and it’s not saturated at all even though I talk about it so often anytime I’m on something like this, we have a platform and talk about it.
With what Matt said, teaming up with someone who has a skill set, that’s cool. I like that idea. I’d team up with someone who has a client list then I’d offer a joint venture which is how I built, I have almost a hundred dental clients and I built those all through our relationship with a dental marketing consultant.
Daryl: That’s smart.
Mark: Thank you. If you want, I have plenty of time you can say nice things to me after we’re done. I’ll take all of the compliments. No, I’m kidding.
Matt: You’re smart and you’re handsome.
Mark: Thank you.
Matt: I’ll stop because I’m embarrassed.
Mark: No, you shouldn’t be. I’m embarrassed. I’m blushing. I’m sorry, Daryl. When you have to apologize to the host multiple times throughout, you’re doing that, hopefully people find this entertaining. We’re fun people.
If someone already invested the time, the money, the blood, sweat and tears, clichés that sounds, into building a client list, as long as you have a complimentary service, something that isn’t competing, there’s an opportunity there. Give them a percent, either White Label or do the referral route. Give them a percent of every sale and people love that. Just make sure if you pitch something like that it’s mutually beneficial.
If I hit Daryl up and say, “Hey, Daryl, can you plug me up with your clients? I want to sell them this.” He’s going to be like, “No, probably not.” You might be real nice about it. Good God, the guy drinks out of a huge fruit. He’s probably going to be a nice guy about it. At the same time if I approach Daryl and I’m like, “Listen man, here’s what I have. Here’s what it does.
Here’s the value it’s going to add to your clients and we do this type of split,” if you have this many clients, I can have an extra $10,000 a month in your pocket with you doing no work, just introducing me or sending out an e-mail or making a phone call and I’d work behind the scenes. It’s that easy. Make sure when you pitch anything, it’s mutually beneficial.
You going up to someone saying, “What can you do for me?” You’re not going to get a good reaction from anyone no matter what fruit they drink from. Sorry. It wasn’t as funny as I thought it was. Sorry. That’s what I’d do.
I’d go and start making relationships. I want to go bang down doors. What do I have, 500 bucks? I don’t need to use a penny of it to be honest, not at the first. I don’t need any of that. I don’t need to go bang down doors and try to get more clients to have a thousand in pocket and then 1,500. I didn’t come for money. I can make 500 last a little bit so I can get the 5,000 and then the 500,000 and then the millions. I’m sorry, I’m done.
Daryl: That was a really good answer.
Mark: I did the Doctor Evil where he said…
Matt: *Doctor Evil Impression; liquid hot magma*To sum it up I’m really embarrassed.
Mark: I loved it. I think it was necessary. Daryl probably did not appreciate it quite as much as I did. We turned into 16-year olds. That’s what makes it fun man. It’s fun to make money with someone you can have fun with. We definitely are like 16-year old kids, we giggle. We just go hard in the paint if I’m being honest.
Daryl: I think it’s good, this relationship.
Mark: It’s fun. You can have your good and bad days, we’re both hotheads. We both will light each other up but at the end of the day, we have a lot of fun. If I’m being honest, we go to the gym and lift heavy ass weights together.
Daryl: Where could we all find you guys then if they don’t already know?
Matt: Our Facebook group, Local Client Takeover.
Daryl: Alright, I can look it up.
Mark: It’s a group. It’s fun, lots of fun. Lots of personalities.
Matt: You can find us on Badgirlsclub.com. We’re the featured bad girls of the month.
Mark: Every month buddy, every month. Take a look at us. Take a look at us Daryl, was that even hard to believe?
Daryl: It makes sense to me.
Mark: If we’re not the most entertaining interview you’ve ever done, I’ll quit. I’m going to leave everything, I’ll leave IM. Hopefully people enjoy it. A lot of these are dry and I’m guilty of that, having real dry interactions on stuff like this. Hopefully people will appreciate the comedic atmosphere and some of the value. We talked about some valuable stuff like proper nomenclature for your AOL handle.
Daryl: Yeah. It’s a good mix.
Matt: I admit it that I had a life-sized poster of Albert Einstein.
Mark: You really opened up on this one. You really opened up. I can appreciate that.
Daryl: Alright guys. Let’s wrap this up. I guess this is a good ending point.
Mark: I feel like if we ended anywhere else, we’d be doing a huge disservice to the community.
Daryl: Exactly. Yeah, guys thanks for coming on.
Mark: Thanks a lot for having me man. Absolutely dude, you need anything, yell at us but it was fun, definitely a cool experience and hopefully you don’t get off and like, “These guys are such dicks.” Hopefully you had fun man.
Daryl: It was fun. Alright guys, thanks for tuning in and I’ll see you guys next week.