Boost2- The DIY or Hire SEO with BenTurner

For a boost, Rachel brings on Search Engine Optimization expert, Ben Turner to help you guys understand SEO, how to DIY and when to hire someone to help! 

 https://rachelbrenke.com/boost2

Featured Guest & Resource

Ben Turner is a Photography SEO Expert & Educator based out of Dallas, TX. His wife, Alyssa, has been a wedding photographer for over 13 years. Alyssa teamed with Ben to build their successful business by serving their clients, strategic networking, and SEO. Ben graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Education from Wayland Baptist University and an MBA from The University of Phoenix, where he later became a professor of web design and SEO. He has worked in agency settings as a Director of SEO responsible for generating over $20m in revenue for well-known international brands. Ben has taken his scholastic and practical knowledge of SEO to create premium SEO information and services for photographers around the world. Ben has been a presenter at WPPI, United, and many online webcasts, as well as a writer for Showiteers and featured in various online magazines.

Homepage: https://turnerwebservices.com/
Complete SEO Guide: https://turnerwebservices.com/seo-resources/seo-for-photographers/
Turner Web Service Youtube: https://turnerwebservices.com/youtube

Business Boost 2: How to Hire SEO with Ben Turner

You can see all of Ben’s SEO resources at https://turnerwebservices.com/

rachel brenke:Okay. Hi, guys. Rachel Brenke here on today’s episode of Business Boost, where I bring information to you on a problem you may or may not know you have, a solution, and a direct resource for you guys to be able to fix that problem in your business. I have Ben Turner, from Turner Web Services, who’s going to talk to us on search engine optimization, or SEO, as the acronym that’s thrown around all over the interwebs these days. Thank you, Ben, for being here. I am really excited, because I really do not know much about this topic. I know enough to be dangerous, and that’s about it.

 

ben turner:Certainly, yeah. It’s my pleasure, and yeah, glad to share whatever information, whatever path we go down. You know, let’s do it.

 

rachel brenke:Yeah. Let’s see. Well, I guess tell us a little bit about you, what you do, how you even got into this SEO world.

 

ben turner:Right. Absolutely. Kind of the way that I got into it was my wife is a wedding photographer, and I was in the military at the time, back in 2004 when she started. We were stationed in Hawaii, and she needed some clients, right? She needed to be able to get people to her website, get booked. We were kind of new to the island, didn’t really know anybody, and so started doing search engine optimization kind of on the side. I also built her website and was doing web design stuff, and we had some pretty good results. I did every single trick in the book. Every little possible thing that I found regardless of the source, I tried it, and we had some pretty good success, but within a couple of years of doing the SEO, I found myself, or her website got blacklisted from Google.

 

rachel brenke:Oh, no.

 

ben turner:We had broken everything or whatever, and so apparently Google has webmaster guidelines and some rules of SEO that I was unaware of. I kind of took a step back and read through them, and really followed kind of the art and science behind what Google was trying to accomplish, and their mission statements and everything. For me, in the military I was an electrical engineer, so data, spreadsheets, numbers, it all made sense to me, and then when you kind of put it in that perspective, I was able to really kind of hit a stride, and within a year of her being blacklisted, she was back in the good graces, and we had revived her business, and she was able to rank. Then I kind of fell in love with it and just doubled down, doubled down, and then 2008, actually put my flag in the sands. I’m doing a bit of web design and SEO for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and then now we have eight employees, and they’re all over mainly the United States, and one UK-based. We help about … Oh, we’re doing about 400 or 500 clients a year.

 

rachel brenke:Wow.

 

ben turner:That go through our services, and we’re learning every day, and we have more and more data every day, and we’re able to really adapt to make things work for a lot of small business owners.

 

rachel brenke:You know, and that’s the thing: You kind of hit it in the areas where I feel like a lot of small business owners, particularly creatives, because my audience is a lot of photographers, wedding planners, videographers and so forth. They get really scared when it comes to data and analytics. I mean, it can be very overwhelming. I guess the big thing is, we know that SEO is out there. We know people talk about it, but since we’re so scared, us creative types are so scared of all these data and analytics, mostly because we don’t know what to do with them, why do we really need SEO? Especially now, when we have social media and word-of-mouth that’s so powerful?

 

ben turner:Absolutely. We can go back to a study that Google put out back in 2011, and the same data is still available today. You could find this study back … It’s at thinkingwithgoogle.com, and what they did was they looked at online purchases, online commitments, conversions, submitting in inquiries, and they came up with some data points on, “What do people do online before they make a purchase, and what is all going on?” They call that the “zero moment of truth.” Now, the first moment of truth is making the purchase, and then you have the zero moment of truth is right before the purchase, and then before that is the stimulus. In the case of a wedding photographer, the bride gets engaged. That’s the stimulus. A newborn photographer, you’re going to have a baby. You know, in any industry, there’s always something that kind of, “All of a sudden now, the money I have, I would rather trade it for this service or this product.” It’s more, “The product or service is more valuable than the money that I have.” Right?

 

Then the zero moment of truth, Google really drilled down on what it is. They found that there’s four different things that people do before they make a purchase. One of them is social media, right? They ask their friends, whether it be online or in person, and it’s just asking their network. Another one is watching videos, and checking out things like that. If you’re not doing videos, definitely it’s one of the four pillars of what’s going on here. The other one is reading reviews, especially as we can see with case studies like Amazon, and just reviews are trending up, and up, and up. If you look at trends.google.com and you enter in, like, review-related phrases, you see there’s 14 years of data. You can see it just trending up and up, and it’s actually, like, hockey sticking. It’s going up.

 

Then of course the fourth pillar is search, and so being found and being visible is going to be important in terms of being able to get that zero moment of truth. Now, there’s traditional marketing wisdom, you know, from before the internet days that says that you need seven touch points with a client before, or a customer before they know, like, and trust you enough to hire you. Social media definitely provides some of those touch points, but then search can also be a very valuable and integral part of an entire holistic campaign, where you get those touch points at that spot. That’s kind of the “why,” and how it’s important, and we can definitely see. As we do the tracking and measuring of all of our clients, we can see direct, people coming in from social media. We see people coming in from different sources, referrals, and then of course from organic search. When we look at all that, we can see this balance of sources and those touch points, that those are the ones that get the most inquiries, and they get the most conversions on their website.

 

rachel brenke:You know, and it’s so funny, because actually right before we got on this call, I had to swing through a fast food drive-through- mother of the year- to feed my child after camp, and I saw this vehicle that had this full-body car wrap on it, and it wasn’t for an online-based business. I mean, they have a website, but they are primarily … It was an outdoor lighting company, so completely unrelated to a lot of the people that I work with. But I stopped for a second, and I thought about kind of this touch point stuff, and I thought, “You know, they got in my path. I was not even there looking for them, and they happened to arrive in my path.” I think about that, if that happens in that way, and that’s offline, why are we not getting in the path of people who are actually actively searching?

 

One of the things that I always see in marketing plans that fails is that a lot of business owners have this idea, “If I build it, they will come. I will be found automatically.” I don’t want to throw my mom under the bus here, but she doesn’t understand SEO. It’s so funny, as I had developed this website for this non-profit that my parents run, and the day that I built it, she calls me and goes, “Why are we not number one on Google? You published today.” And I was like … I thought to myself, and I was like … That’s a perfect representation of, “You can’t just build it. You have to get in the path.” Much like that car happened to get in my path when I wasn’t searching, we also need to purposely get in the path with search engine optimization being tailored.

 

As an example, too, a lot of times I feel like small business owners may let SEO fall off, not just because they don’t understand it, but because they may think, “Okay, I have a good grasp on all other areas of my marketing plan, right? All the other legs of the table are doing very well.” As somebody who has dominated a market, my SEO was still incredibly lacking, and I’m working hard, and now I definitely know who to turn to for help, but it just always makes me wonder, “What have I lost in the process by not beefing up that portion of my marketing plan?” I’m one of those that has fallen into this idea of, “Okay, my other three legs of my table are really strong and doing well. I’m just going to deal with the wobbly effects of not getting my SEO in order.” Some of that has to do with, as myself, with the fear of not really understanding how to do SEO, because there’s so much misinformation out there.

 

Like you said a little bit ago with your real-life example, if you don’t really understand what Google is looking for, you could do the wrong thing and get blacklisted. I guess my question to you, saying all of that, is, when you have a small business owner who is very wary about doing it … They know they need to. I don’t really think we have to do a lot of convincing of people of that anymore. It’s more of telling people how to do it. Should they do it themselves? Is it worth investing in companies? Then I hate seeing these companies who scam people, who take the money and actually never do the work. I mean, what is your suggestion for a small business owner that knows they need SEO, but they don’t know how to get from point A to point B?

 

ben turner:Right. I think it comes down to an investment of time, you know? And the whole part of the concept of outsourcing. I know you’ve had some guests that have talked about this, but do you want to spend the time to do it yourself? How much money is your time worth? Then how much does it cost, and what’s the return on investment potential for that investment? If you do the math, and you could find out, and you might … You know, in some cases, a newer business might have more time than money, in which case they need to figure it out themselves, and there’s definitely some decent resources. If you stick with Google.com, and you’re able to read through the guidelines, and all those resources are out there, and then you’re able to kind of just take baby steps to get toward your goal, then there’s definitely a case point for that, when you need to do it yourself and kind of get that beginning.

 

There is also a certain turning point where you can say, “If I spend X, and then I can make Y.” In most cases for us, for us to even take on a client, I have to … And I say “forensically” prove that there’s going to be a 5% to 10% return on investment, meaning that … Let’s just pick a round number. Let’s say if someone spends $1,000, I should be able to make an additional $5,000 to $10,000 in revenue for their business, directly related to the work that we do for their site. Unless you can have an agency or someone that can look at the market size, looks at the click-through rates and the conversion rates, and then the product costs and everything, if you can’t look at that and say, “This is the goal. If I spend this and this is what I make, then I wouldn’t spend the money.” Right? That’s kind of the … In any marketing effort, even social media campaigns, or WeddingWire or not, or buying magazine ads, if you can’t put a direct, at least some sort of predictive ROI on that effort, then I wouldn’t invest, right?

 

rachel brenke:Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well you know, and that’s the thing. You hit it on the head at the beginning of that. For me, and I talk about this in a lot of my episodes, there comes a point in business where you really have to get out of your own way, and I ask myself this every day still. “Do I need to be the person that types this keyword? Do I need to be the person that presses this button? Is it going to make that much of an impact, or can I substitute someone else?” For example, obviously no one else can host this podcast, [inaudible 00:13:13]. They can’t substitute for me, right? I mean, but when it comes to doing stuff on the back end, I embrace it to know I’d probably do worse on it than if I hired somebody. But at the end of the day, it’s not going to give me more rankings or better searching by me being the one to input all the data that needs to happen and evaluate the analytics. At the end of the day, I still need to have my fingers on it and have a pulse of what’s going on, but I don’t necessarily need to be doing the actual physical work.

 

But I do- like you said- sometimes they have more time than money, so I guess the good tips to take away that Ben just provided, if you’re in that position right now and you’re thinking, “I just can not afford to hire anyone else. I do have some time.” Go through the Google stuff. I mean, essentially walk through all of their tips, tricks, policies, mission statements, everything that could help you, but a good portion of you guys, I think, are probably on the precipice of needing to hire somebody. I mean, and I guess the question, Ben: You work with tons, I mean 400 to 500 clients a year. How does a business owner know when they’re ready to hire? Outside of that whole idea of, “Do I need to physically do this?” What are some other things that can tell a business owner, “Hey, let go of control. You need to hire somebody”?

 

ben turner:Right. Again, it comes to the point where maybe you’re busy, and you could take a little bit more work. SEO is not going to be the 100% driver of all the traffic to your website. We typically see where it can easily be 20% to 30% of your business, if you have … Depending on, you know, a lot of the industries. If you want to grow 20% to 30%, and that’s an area we haven’t tapped into, then you can … It’s a good lever to pull. If you are moving to a new location, and you need … There are definitely some things there that can have an impact with that. Now, another thing that, kind of just a slight tangent on that, too, is the practice of SEO-ing a website is really about making the website the best, that Google will decide to put it on page one.

 

Part of that, “the best,” and I’m using air quotes, is a lot of it is user experience. One of the byproducts, kind of the unintended consequence or byproduct of SEO, is you get a site that has a better user experience, which is better conversion rates. You get more people that actually go through the website, and it’s easier to get out more functionally, where people can easily find your information and then make a decision whether or not to hire you, then also fill out that form and get that inquiry, and then move on from there. If you’re kind of at that stage where, “Maybe I need to do some conversion optimization, and look at how people are interacting with the website,” applying Google’s standards will not only get you to rank better and get more traffic, but then will also help the traffic you do have.

 

rachel brenke:Mm-hmm (affirmative). I mean, how would you suggest that a small business owner that this is a relatively new area to them, they’re probably overwhelmed listening to us talk. How should they go about hiring somebody? I mean, do you … This scares me, because there has been so much out there of people, “I’m an SEO company.” They take money, and they actually never see a return.

 

ben turner:Yup. There is actually a video that Google put out, February 17th of this year. The title of it is, “How to hire an SEO.”

 

rachel brenke:Nice.

 

ben turner:It’s on YouTube, and I will … I don’t know if you have show … Will you put it in your show notes?

 

rachel brenke:Yup. I can do that.

 

ben turner:We can link people to it. Also, Google has an article that’s similar. It’s written out, for those who like to read versus watch a video. It’s the same thing. I believe it’s, “Should I hire an SEO?” And it goes through what to look for, common scams that SEO companies do, because being in the industry, I would say that probably 90% of SEO companies are on the unethical side.

 

rachel brenke:Yeah, it sucks.

 

ben turner:Which is hard. That means if you talk to 10 people, probably only one of them is actually legit. It depends on where you get your references from and things like that, but it has a list of questions that you ask an SEO agency. You can go through those questions, and it tells you what to expect as an answer, and then doing your due diligence and reading through that, you can really save yourself from a lot of scam artists.

 

rachel brenke:That’s good. Obviously from the legal standpoint, I highly recommend always reading any contract terms that you guys have, especially if you’re entering into a high dollar contract. You have to also consider you’re giving these people access to your private information, and potentially your website, so make sure that all of that legal stuff is in line, so you can have some recourse should anything go south. I think this is one of the areas that the small business owners, they’ll just blindly sign because they trust. They believe an agency is going to lead them down the right path. But we need to take a little responsibility there and make sure that everything is in line, all the expectations are set out so there’s not any missed expectations, deadlines, schedules, any guarantees if they have anything, and also if there is a resolution process should an issue ever arise. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone being a scammer for there to be an issue. You could potentially have an issue between you and the agency, and it can go either way. That’s my little legal two cents to recommend for you guys, to always check all the terms and conditions, and any contract that you’re about to sign with any of these agencies.

 

Ben, leave us with some information. Obviously these are services you provide. I want them to be able to find you. I trust you. I want them to be able to hire you. Ben’s not paying me to say all this. I just wanted him on here because he’s super knowledgeable. I’ve seen him turn websites around, and I want you guys to reap the benefits of that. Let them know where they can find you, and how you can benefit them.

 

ben turner:Sure. TurnerWebServices.com, and there you’ll find tons of the free resources, and I have a pretty active YouTube channel where I’m hosting regularly on just straight up, getting right into, “Here’s how you do this. Here’s how you do that.” To try to … Kind of getting the pulse on what I’m seeing on Facebook, and questions, and being able to address those as they come up. Then of course there’s a free guide, and then also you can request a free audit on the website there.

 

rachel brenke:Oh, awesome.

 

ben turner:We’ll go through the website and show you what we find, and give you an actually active checklist of what to do, and everything like that. Then also, all the packages, and prices, and details. One of the cool things I want to point out that we do differently than anyone else, and this is how we can help, is instead of us just … You handed us money, and we go SEO your website. What we actually do is when we’re in your website, you’re logged in, we actually record a video of us doing the work. We give you all the knowledge, all the tips, all the kind of behind-the-scenes, so that A, you get proof that we did something.

 

rachel brenke:I love that.

 

ben turner:And number two, what we’ve found is, and this is really purely was … You know, kind of wasn’t really planned, but what we’ve found is, when a business owner understands the process, even a little bit on the tech side, you don’t have to grasp everything, but if you just see it and understand it even a little bit more, you get better results.

 

rachel brenke:Agreed. Yeah.

 

ben turner:Versus us just kind of just doing it and then walking away, and then, “Thanks and good luck.” You know, it’s a whole process, and we end up with our middle tier package, our most common one. You end up with five videos that’s directed only for you. In fact, if you share this video with a friend or whatever, it wouldn’t work, because it’s specifically for your situation, in your business, in your area, and we go over keyword research, better analysis. We go over the on-site [inaudible 00:21:22], actually logged into your site. Details on blogging, building links, and then how to track and measure everything.

 

It’s a full encompassing thing, and what we’re trying to build is an independency from the agency. The traditional SEO agency model is to get you in, get some stuff going, maybe see a little boost, and then you have to pay month, after month, after month, and then you’re afraid if you stop paying it’ll drop and it’ll go away, whereas we kind of flip the script on that, and we set you up, and we work with you for three or four months, up to six months depending on the contract, and then you’re off on your own. We kind of push you into the wave and let you surf to the shore, and you have all the tools, all the information. I [inaudible 00:22:09] have a lot of clients that take this training and they hand it off to an intern, or an in-house team …

 

rachel brenke:Oh, love it.

 

ben turner:… that they create, and they’re able to do it all themselves.

 

rachel brenke:Awesome. Oh, man. I love that. I’ve talked about it in a couple of other episodes, how the CEO and the owner should always have the hands on everything to know how to do it, even if they aren’t the one pressing the buttons in the end, so the fact that they can walk away with resources like that is fantastic. Also consider, guys, if you have that, and you have someone doing SEO for you after you’re completed with Turner Web Services, like an intern or so forth, by having those videos, you already have a built-in training system, really, for the next person that may come after them, so that way you don’t have to necessarily reinvest your time either. That’s a totally awesome benefit.

 

I am going to include all of Ben and all of the other Turner Web Services information into the show notes. You can find all of this at RachelBrenke.com/Boost, and then the number two, or else you can go to BusinessBitesPodcast.com, and all of the episodes are listed there. We’re also on iTunes and Stitcher as well.

 

Ben, thank you so much for coming on today, and again, guys, if you need to get ahold of him directly, TurnerWebServices.com, and over onto YouTube with a lot of great information and videos to help you guys out. Have a good one.

 

ben turner:Thank you.