Episode 091 : How Can SEO Drive Traffic and Increase Sales in Your Business with Matt LaClear

Matt LaClear is an SEO expert and Founder of the marketing agency Your Ad Squad, LLC. Matt’s team pursues the very best referral prospects available in any given industry with the purpose of doubling the size of a business. They are experienced in working with the big fish, yet they love small businesses and never act like a candidate is above working with them. They help their clients to set their sites on the biggest referral targets in their industry resulting in huge dividends. It forces clients to up their game to the next level and grow business. Rainmaking!

In 2004 Matt had his house buzzed three times by a Apache Helicopter because of his aggressive follow-up efforts on a $3 Million proposal he had submitted to the owner. The project crashed and burned, but that encounter changes Matt’s thinking forever. It changed the way he approached business and as a result, how he helps others to grow their companies through SEO.

Questions

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey? Tell us a little bit about your company, Your Ad Squad, the marketing agency, how it is that you’ve got into this line of work? just a little bit about your background.
  • Could you share with us a little bit about your SEO squad? What is SEO, how does it work? Why is it important for your business if you don’t know anything, your knowledge is ground zero. In 3 to 6 sentences, how could you explain that to someone?
  • Can you share with us maybe one tool, website or app that you absolutely can’t live without in your business?
  • Could you share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be that you’ve read recently, or it could be something that you read a long time ago that has still had a great impact on you.
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who feel that they have great products and services, some of them feel that they lack the constantly motivated human capital. If you where sitting across the table from that person, what’s one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business as it relates to their human capital and motivating them?
  • What’s one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you’re really excited about – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Could you tell our listeners where they could find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that you go by that during times of adversity or challenge, this quote is something that you would revert to to kind of just remind you what you’re working on and to just refocus, re strategize, get it back on track?

Highlights

Matt LaClear Background

Matt shared that 25 years ago he came home from work and all his neighbours were in front of his house. He didn’t know what was going on and then he noticed a little girl was riding his daughter’s bike they had just bought her for Christmas. All their stuff was at the curb because they were being evicted. And he was a coward at the time or at that moment at least. And instead of stopping to get his belongings and his family’s belongings, he just drove right on by. Long story short, his wife ended up going back an hour later once she got out of work.

But by then, almost everything was gone. They’d lost all their childhood pictures, she lost her childhood pictures, there’s not one left from that time. So, it was all because he wasn’t a good provider at the time. And he vowed at that time that he was going to become a better provider. And he started his own business a little bit after that. And that’s how he got in the business was just through that, that situation. Now, since then, he has been running a marketing agency for 20 years and a lot has happened since then.

But he understands and most small business owners, they get to a position where they get hit by something like that and it changes them. And that’s why he likes helping small business owners, because almost every one of them has a story like that, why they got into business, why they’re doing what they do. He just likes helping small business owners. So, that’s why he helped them, because they almost have the same story he has, that eviction or something bad.

Me: And sometimes it’s the negative things in our life that really propel us to do greater things.

And because you can always do better. “Oh, this must be rock bottom. Okay, well, I’m going to do much better and better.” And to be honest he has made some mistakes back then that he would never make now. And he wasn’t making this much obviously. But he was young but that’s how he got in the business. And almost everybody has that type of story negative, the rising phoenix from the ashes.

How SEO Can Drive Traffic and Increase Sales

Matt shared that SEO is nothing more than getting free traffic from Google in the way you get that free traffic is you take care of their customers and you give them what their customers want. And if you do that, the customers end up; Google sends you the traffic for free to your website and you make a lot of sales and you don’t have to pay for the traffic. So that’s SEO.

Me: Give us an example of a business that you’ve had….that you’ve helped. Let’s say maybe a mechanic store or a retail store or maybe a restaurant, how it is that you are able to use your services to transform.

Matt shared that it’s kind of hard, in the years they’ve been doing this, they’ve had he thinks their last count was well over 13,000 different businesses they worked on. So they’ve got all types of rags to riches stories happen all the time. They’re working on a campaign right now where it was an affiliate business, of all things, and he had a hard time getting traffic and getting Google to help them and help him give them that free traffic.

And being an affiliate, you don’t have enough money to pay for traffic. It’s not like you get 100% of the sale and that’s it. Usually as an affiliate, you get 10%. So, even if you make a sale as an affiliate, it’s really hard to pay for traffic.

“And they ended up, tripling his traffic for his main money pages. And what is meant by that is they find out what pages make money for a business and then they go find those pages. And then it’s a matter of just making sure that they’re taking care of Google’s customer, which is the user. And if they do that, they can optimize that page so Google sends more traffic to it. And since it’s a client’s money page, it usually converts, well, better than the rest of the sites.”

Matt LaClear

And that’s how they make their clients money. It’s just a matter of finding the money pages, the ones that are actually earning the business, and then get that right. And too many SEO companies, they ignore the 80-20 rule. It’s really that 95/5 rule where 5% of your pages on your website are producing 95% of your profit. He bets it’s 99 and 1%, he can go as far as he can in the math and keep moving the decimal point.

But the fact of the matter is most businesses that are surviving from their website traffic, they’re doing so with just a few pages and most SEO companies, they start coming in and they start trying to treat every page as being different or as an equal, and they do SEO and all these pages. And that really hurts the campaign because a lot of the pages aren’t making money. Why are we trying to rank a page that doesn’t make any money, find the pages that make money, then make sure that it’s in alignment with Google’s user.

If somebody is searching the keyword for that page that’s making money for you, then you just have to go and make sure that you are taking into consideration why the user is searching that, what they’re looking for, what solution they need and what you could give them to take them one step further into the selling cycle and get them deeper into the funnel. And usually he can say it’s only a few pages. So, they look like heroes a lot when they get hired because, “Wow, you’ve increased sales by X amount.”

And all they did was, they focused their first month on those pages. And then that creates extra revenue. And then all of a sudden, they can start working on ranking other pages and actually getting that same process moved across to the rest of the website. But anybody starting SEO and they’re in business, he highly recommend you start with the money pages and just stay with it and stay with it until it converts for you, because it doesn’t matter if that page doesn’t convert.

You want to rank it, of course. You could make some money with it, it’s better than not ranking, but it’s better. If you really consider the user what they’re looking for and take care of them, that’s taking care of Google because it makes Google’s product much better. Because he remembers 8 years ago, it was easy, they could rank for anything, anything and usually a couple of days and it didn’t matter the quality of the website.

But if you remember back then, Google wasn’t a very good tool, it wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box because you wanted to search for something and you could end up on affiliate sites, you can end up on click bank sites, you can end up with somebody trying to sell an e-book with. You’re looking for an attorney maybe to do a will, some estate planning. And then you search estate planning and all that comes up are how to sell estate planning leads to attorneys.

Well, you’re not interested in that, Google wasn’t very good back then, but now they are. It’s a very good search tool. We can find whatever we need using Google. So, because of that, now we can reverse engineer the algorithm. So, let’s see what pages are ranking well for our key words. Then let’s study those pages because Google is placing the pages for that keyword that the people want and it’s satisfying their needs.

“And the best way to do it is just to look to see who’s already ranking, don’t reinvent the wheel. Find out what’s going on, why is that site ranking? What is it user intent and a lot of the times the people who are ranking well, aren’t going as far in the process as they could. So there’s opportunity, you can pass them. Okay, maybe they have some of the user intent, but maybe there’s more I could do.”

Matt LaClear

You could take them deeper in a relationship, if they’re searching green algae in pool, maybe they have a pool that has algae in it and they’ve got a party coming up, they want to get it cleaned up in time.

So I could then have that whole article be about it, not only talking about how to clean your pool, but how to get it done in time, how to make sure that it’s going to be done by the time of the party and then end it with a checklist on how to get your pool cleaned by the time by the time of your party.

Well, that’s going to be a piece of content that the user is going to find very useful. It’s going to be something that when they click it and they find it, they’re not going to rush out and hit back on their browser so they can go to the next person on the Google listing or the search result rather than find out who’s ranking. No, they’re going to stay at your site and they’re going to get their information.

Google’s watching all that and they know that. So they know that you’re taking care of the people coming to your site.

And that’s the best SEO tip he can give anybody, if you take care of the user, Google’s always going to take care of you. Why? Because you’re taking care of Google.

Matt LaClear

If somebody searches Google for something and they can’t pull up results for it, you’re going to get in a situation where people are going to stop using Google.

So, Google loves finding great information that is in alignment with what the user is looking for. And because of the precision, like he said, and he’ll repeat because of the precision of Google’s tool now, we can use Google search tool to reverse engineer the user intent of their clients. And they just look at their competitors site that are ranking on those keywords already because the tool’s good enough where it’s showing what the best user content is, what links come into play through. But that’s in a nutshell SEO.

Me: I like the example you gave in terms of looking at what Google is searching for, what people are searching for, and then repurposing your content to ensure that it’s fulfilling that particular need. Because then the ranking will definitely come further up because some people are extremely granular when they’re searching for something. So, if you’re granular when you’re searching for something and the tool that can actually populate the specific information within the first three options that come up, it makes the experience that much better. You don’t have to be digging through three, four or five pages, sixteen different articles, or videos, or images, trying to find the information that you’re looking for.

Absolutely. And you can build a bridge that way too. For instance, let’s say you are a pool supply company and you sell tablets. So you drop the big tablets in the pool and it makes the green algae go away and it’s fast and so it happens in 24 hours.

Now most business owners, they’re going to try to rank that product page for the keyword, because that’s the page they want everybody landing on. Well, most of the people that searching the green algae in my pool may not understand that there’s a tablet ready for them that can help them. And they’re not looking for that solution; at that point, they’re still further up in the funnel. They’re still looking for information. So, if we search that keyword and if we own that pool company, we noticed that there’s no other product pages ranking for the keyword.

There’s a good chance at their product page won’t work for it either. Why? Because the user for that keyword that’s searching it isn’t looking for a tablet at that point. They’re just saying, “How do I fix my pool?” They don’t want to end up on a product page. Instead, they want to know that we understand their problem. We break their problem down. “This is why you have algae in your pool. We’re not just trying to sell you a scam or snake oil. You have your algae in your pool because of this. And there’s a test you can do. And this is why you get rid of it.”

And once we demonstrate that we understand all that, we could have a little banner on the bottom of that article that says, “You want a checklist on how to get your pool taken care of me by the time you’re party.” like he says, they download the checklist, they’re going to get the checklists list, it’s the next logical step in their solution to fixing their problem with the pool. So what happens after they get the checklist and they go through all that and they start trying to treat it right.

They change the filter; they put in extra chlorine and they’re still having a little problem. And then they get hit with an e-mail from you saying, “Hey, are you still having trouble with your pool?” It could be three days after they download the checklist or two days. “Yeah, I am.” “Well, check out our product here. Just drop a couple of tablets in and it’ll be ready in 24 hours.” Now, that’s a real solution.

Now, had they just been sent straight to our product page and we asked them to buy the tablets, now we’re in a situation where we’re trying to rush the sale. And in SEO, we can’t rush the sale. And that’s the way it used to be, we would only rank product pages because they were easy to rank. But that made Google less effective as a tool. So they made algorithms that made it so those pages wouldn’t rank.

And so that’s the good news is if you see a competitor that isn’t going further in the funnel, but they’re taking in consideration of the user intent, but they’re not adding any teeth to it, like banner ads to go deeper into the funnel for a lead magnet. And usually, if you just offer a checklist, “Hey, you want all this information in a checklist in a PDF, just give us your e-mail.” Usually that goes really well and as far as lead generators.

So, it’s having the opportunity of knowing the user intent and taking care of the user allows them to not only rank better take care of Google’s users better, but also funnel prospects that they do get deeper into the funnel and into their own funnel. They go into the funnel, hey, I got to fix his pool, by the time they get out of the funnel, they want to clean pool, they want a good barbecue, they want to have a good thing.

So they’re looking for it, tablets are not in their mind at that point. They will be but first, they have to let them know that they understand their problem and they understand why it happened and that they are the authorities on this problem. They’re not just some people that bought some tablets from overseas and now they’re trying to sell it for $99.99.

And they’re saying it fixes, cures cancer and cleans your pool up. They just want to make sure we’re not that person. And that has to be done at the speed of human interaction. We would never go on a first date and ask somebody to marry us unless it was an arranged marriage and other cultures that happens. But here in the United States, no, but it’s just isn’t heard of. Anybody that asked to marry you on your first date, you would probably think something was strange with that person and not have a second date.

But marketers, we don’t mind at all trying to get people to buy our tablets right away. We’d like to get people to our product page, but that’s where the user intent comes in. That’s where the laws of human interaction is, you have to build the relationship. And once they see your name a few times and you’ve answered their question, they spent some time with you on your post. They got your guide, they got your check list, they got your email, and they’re going to buy from you.

Who else are they going to buy from, a vendor down the street who sends people straight to the sales page and didn’t take the time to do all that? And guess what? Those are the pages that rank in Google. And those are the pages that convert. So really, SEO is just a matter of solid business development.

Tool or App that has Impacted Matt Greatly

Matt shared that he’s a big, big fan of Grammarly and he also uses the Hemingway Editor too. And because when you’re writing, you have to write in a way that people can scan. He tries to write everything in fifth grade or below reading level, and he sells to attorneys, too. And they like to write and they send him stuff and he’ll put it in the grader and it’ll be like grade 24. Don’t write your copy, it needs to be fifth grade. Why does it need to be so low?

He gets the grammar taken care of using word and then once Grammarly gives him all the good suggestions he needs, then he moves it to the Hemingway Editor and if he can get that down to a fifth or fourth grade reading level, that just guarantees that all his sentences are short, that his paragraphs are short, and that he’s not using a lot of adverbs.

And why is that important? Because his readers are going to be able to scan through it really fast. It’s going to be like a hot knife through butter. And whenever we slow a brain down, when they’re reading, it just invites distraction and that’s why. So, that’s his app.

Books that have Impacted Matt Greatly

Matt shared that he and his partner, they just went through a book study of The Power of Positive Thinking with Norman Vincent Peale, just having a positive mindset. And it’s funny, right when they finish the book, the crisis started with the virus. It was like, “Oh, man, when didn’t want to have to test this so soon, we just finished the book.” But it worked and it helped them and as business owners, any business owners, as any kid in school, just kind of a positive mindset.

Matt Shared What Keeps Human Capital “The People” Consistently Motivated

If he had had a positive mindset in school, he would’ve had a lot better time. But he didn’t have a positive mindset, it took him till he was in his forties to figure out he needed a positive mindset. But that’s a great book, he highly recommends that one.

Matt shared that he’s a highly motivated person. His first 20 years in business, he had a hard time with people who weren’t motivated. He felt like they were in his way. And if they were in his way, they’re going to get pushed out of his way. He had momentum and then once you get momentum going, you never want to lose it. Now, I’m not telling people to start pushing people your way.

But what he wouldn’t say is starting establishing some momentum. The very thing that makes us get upset when somebody trips us up is that they are slowing our momentum down. So we’re reversing that and looking at it from the other way, if we establish momentum, which will give us enough will power to get through to where we’re trying to get to. And most of the people that work for us and the human condition is they are unmotivated, they don’t have a desire to accomplish anything big in their life.

So it makes it hard for them and they kind of stray. So, he tries to get momentum going with their staff, he tries to get them training, he tries to get them excited for themselves. So they’re learning things that it has nothing to do with our business. But if they can learn a skill set, it helps them when they do the work. But even if they quit later, they still have the skill set with them that they can use with their competitor even or start their own business.

And sometimes that happens. And it used to hurt him and make me angry and it doesn’t anymore because you want people having maximal momentum in your life, because we want it in our own life and the more momentum that your workers have, the more momentum that they’ll have to give us. So when they bump into it, it actually propels us forward and rather than to be stalled out in front of us.

So that’s the beauty of having acceleration, accelerated momentum. And to get that momentum going is a lot of different things you can do. But usually it’s personal development for the workers taking care of them and he doesn’t mean just paying them more, just treat them like a member of the team and help them strengthen how they feel about themselves and give them something to work towards and celebrate the wins with them. And they get the momentum and sometimes they get so much momentum, they go out the door, they go somewhere else for more money but you know what, he did his job in those cases.

So he would just say to anybody in that position just get some momentum going, get your employees excited. There’s a lot of different things you can do for them, get some training going, usually online training and it usually is a good momentum builder too for staff especially if there’s certification involved, because that skill set, they’re padding and their own resume. Now they’re doing something not just for you because they’re getting paid, but now they’re doing something for themselves.

So that’s what he would say, if he got asked that question again, he would give you the crib’s note would be the short version would be. Get your employees excited about themselves. Do some personal training, help them always be padding their resumé with whether it’s certifications or experience or even help them with case studies.

So they have their own case studies, helped on this and this and this with this company. So, give them personal case studies, so they’re padding their own resumé as they’re going along. And so they make one case study for us, this is what our agency did for this client. But then on the same time, they have the writer.

They can easily just say also write one for one of our employees, who was very instrumental in this, that they can put in their CV or their resume or upload to LinkedIn. And lets people know that you care about them. But more importantly, it gets them excited about their job. And now they want to do that again, they want some more padding on their resume.

Matt shared that they’re doing a lot of different things because of the crisis and it’s forced them to do a lot of things, something that they’re really excited and is getting buy in from their employees and the work they’re doing, they’re getting scorecards so it’s not they they’re going to be checking on that, but they’re going to be giving them scorecards at the end of every week of what they’ve accomplished and what they haven’t accomplished. And it keeps them from having to look over their shoulders.

And so, they’re treating them as little mini business owners and they’re giving them a lot of leeway with it, too. So, he’s excited about that, that they’re having a lot more autonomy with the staff rather than everybody knocking on his door and saying, “Matt, you got a minute?” because you’re die a little inside every time you hear that especially if you got your own momentum going. So they’re getting buy in and it’s working and that has him excited because that’s momentum.

Where Can You Find Matt Online

  • Matt shared listeners can find him at –

www.yourseosquad.com

Facebook – Matthew LaClear

Quote or Saying that Keeps You Motivated and Committed During Times of Adversity

When asked about if he has a quote or saying that he reverts to during times of adversity or challenge, Matt shared that he has it pinned right in front of him, Psalm 16 vs 5-6, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion in my cup. You have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” That makes it very easy for him to do business deals when he has that mindset.

Me: Wow, that’s so beautiful. We need it now especially in the climate and the environment of what’s going on in the world generally speaking.

Temporary, not forever. And our inheritance and while faith comes into play but even without faith, you could get through this. This is just temporary.

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