- There’s a difference between optimizing Google My Business and blatent spam
- Chasing shortcuts or trying to circumnavigate Google’s guidelines will only result in your account being removed or lost completely
- Provide value to end users, and work towards user engagement
John: As you know, Corey, I wanted to get in touch with you and have a chat about this whole GMB thing.
John: This has been a hot topic of discussion over the last week and a half or so, especially, and I have to preface this by saying that I always found the whole Google My Business thing quite confusing in the sense that I would see people running around the internet selling GMB courses. I would see discussions happening in groups about … You’d see those map overlays, and they’d have a plumber, who is now in the map pack listing for 600 suburbs. I thought, “What the fuck are these people doing?” Surely, and you probably saw my post I posted up. This is, I think, how we made the initial connection, “What the fuck are these people doing?” Because, for me, I have to say that firstly, my hat’s white, right? I keep my shit tidy because I know and I’ve been around long enough to know that this shit can get messy if you try and take shortcuts.
John: Because I’ve certainly had my fair share of misfortune I guess you could say going back 11 or 12 year or so. I don’t want anything to do with that shit because it always ends the same. So when I saw a lot of that shit going on, I was thinking, “What the fuck are these people doing? Am I missing something?” And that’s why we ended up getting in touch.
Corey: Yeah, I think your post was really interesting timing because a couple of weeks ago now Google reviewed a whole bunch of accounts, and anything which was black hat, grey hat was starting to get picked up. No, it’s kind of like Facebook. You can break the rules for a long time and get away with it until someone either dobs you in or you get audited for some reason. I think they just rolled out an automation a few weeks ago to pick up any of that activity, and people were bamboozled.
Corey: The SEO game’s the same. There’s always people who come into it who want to make fast money and be black hat, grey hat, tendencies, and it always ends up the same way. It always goes pear shaped eventually. Now Google My Business is really, really good for local businesses are something … When that’s something you’ll pick up your phone and search for, like mechanic near me, plumber near me, café near me, things like that, it works really well.
John: And that’s what it’s designed for. That’s exactly what it’s designed for.
Corey: Exactly, so what happened was, going back say two years now, when they changed from a seven-pack listing to a three-pack listing for those optimised positions a few years ago, a whole bunch of digital marketers thought, “Hey, I can do this as a service, charge a lot for it, set it up, and then do nothing.” Right? And that’s, I think, when it changed. People were attracted to that, and I saw lots of people popping up all over the place going, “Hey, let me optimise your listing blah, blah, blah.” And they’d charge a fee, and then just sit it and forget it.
Corey: Google’s always a few steps in front, and it’s even better now with the way that they understand how we think. What they’ve done over time is they’ve really built it into a platform where you have to consistently apply work to your listing. The shortcut takers don’t like that. They don’t want to have to log on every week and do some stuff because that’s not how they’re hardwired. But if you are a small business owner, and you get how it works, which is open it every day, have a look, you’ll get rewarded in the long run.
Corey: I think that incident two weeks ago where a lot of people’s listings got canned for a while and the SEO groups and the Google My Business groups and all the groups I’m in and some that you’re in, people were shitting the bed left, right, and centre because for all those guys, I think a lot of those guys were grey hat guys. I don’t think they were the bad old days of real black hat duded.
John: Yeah, I would agree with that. I would agree with that. One thing that you mentioned just then, Corey, that I just want to ask about, you said that a lot of the Google My Business stuff these days and the way in which Google has structured it, it’s set up in a way that you have to get in there and be constantly working at it. Can you elaborate a bit more on that and explain what you mean by that?
Corey: So probably I shot a video for my client group this morning on this exact topic, and we write a big blog post, which has got about 12 moving parts that if you really wanted to win, you’d optimise all 12 of them. But really we feel that the weekly work comes down to probably three things. For most people, they need to have that tab open on their laptop or desktop and preferably the app on their phone as well.
John: You’re talking about the actually business owner, right?
Corey: That’s right. Yeah, well, the business owner or someone doing it for them.
John: Okay. Yep.
Corey: In my case, we do have a dude who we call the GMB geek, and we still sell that service. He will sit there every week and optimise their listing. Now the three things that we mostly look at is posts, so actually adding content to that platform. So take a picture in your business or a video, pop it in there, write some words, make sure you’ve got your bullseye phrase, that phrase you want to win on Google most of all, your other words and phrases you want to rank for, and tell a bit of a story. So posting is something that we recommend. If you’re a brand new small business, and you’ll want to get some traction, we’d recommend you doing it every three or four days just to show Google that you’re using the platform a lot. Google rewards that. They want to see that.
Corey: The second thing is making sure that you chase up reviews, so we know from live testing, so we’ve run workshops where we get a whole bunch of people in the room and say, “Hey, find us a plumber,” and they’ll sit there. One guys will go, “Oh, my next door neighbor’s a plumber, but the rest of the paper will pop in plumber near me and will look at the listings they come up with. We’ll say, “Okay, which one would you pick?” Quite often times, they’ll scroll straight past the ads at the top. They’ll go to the Google three-pack, and they’ll pick the one that has the most reviews. So we know that its best practise to constantly chase up reviews and reply to reviews as well. People, you got to reply to them.
John: There’s a fine … Sorry, I’ll let you continue.
Corey: That’s all right.
John: I’m scribbling some notes here, and I’ll revisit them because you said it sounds to me like there’s one more. But there’s definitely a fine line there between asking for positive reviews and getting reviews. But sorry, Corey, I didn’t mean to cut you off.
Corey: No, that’s okay. We have a template for that. We’ve to an email template I designed called the service improvement email. We get clients to send this out to people periodically every month or so. Let’s say they had a bunch of clients, and we’ll send it out and say, “Hey, John. Great doing business with you. Hope that thing you bought’s gone really well. Is there any way we can improve our service to you because we want to? If that’s the case, if there’s anything we could do better, we’d love to hear from you so we can work with you. If you’re happy with how it went, we’d love to get a Google review. Here’s a link for that.”
Corey: Then we’ll do little things like going back to their email signature and taking out anything they don’t need and just leaving that Google link be so that it becomes more apparent and more obvious.
John: Right. Okay.
Corey: We find that doing that constantly, again, it’s work. You’ve got to dig around for them, and you’ve got to constantly ask for them and reply to them.
Corey: Probably the third thing we recommend people do is get the app on their phone. So when they get the app on their-
John: Okay, so this is your third point, yes?
Corey: Yeah, this is the third one that I’d suggest people do as a standard practise, and if they do these well, they should over time rank really well. Get the app on your phone because it makes all those things a bit easier in terms of adding posts, adding images, but also people can message you through that app as well. Then you can reply to that, which could be the same as an olden days phone call. Like [crosstalk 00:08:40] business.
John: Right. Okay.
Corey: But also it’ll pop up on your phone as a notification that you’ve received a review. You can reply to that straightaway. So we find that if people get the app on their phone, chase down reviews as often as they can without stepping over the line and being a bit pissed about because that’s a fine line as you know. You want to kind of sell it as a, “Hey, we’d love to see how you’re going with that thing you bought. Hey, we sold you that car. How’s it going? How’s that sweet upgradeD stereo or whatever?” But adding posts as well is a key thing because there’s an opportunity there.
Corey: Some people will just take a photo with their phone, and it’s got the geo tagging switched on, which is important. They’ll upload a photo with no words. We know that if we go back and optimise those images, if we take over an account and we go back to those images and optimise it with a key paragraph and maybe some descriptive stuff, it helps as well. That’s the basic nuts and bolts.
Corey: What that means is you’ve got to be on there every few days. There really is not such thing as a set it and forget it because-
John: Right. Okay.
Corey: … Google doesn’t want that. They want people to use their product as much as possible.
John: Okay. So, sorry. So those are some great points, Corey, it certainly helped me better understand because I don’t know. I guess to be completely honest with you, I never spent a lot of time with Google My Business, and it sounds to me like it certainly has changeD and evolved a lot probably over the last few years. I’m probably guilty of just setting these things up and focusing on more traditional SEO and not spending the time to do these things that you just mentioned.
Corey: That’s who you are, though.
John: Well, that’s what I do. I’m not a GMB guy. This is where I got confused, and that’s why I asked the question to the group, “What the fuck are you guys doing? You’re charging $97 a month for Google My Business optimization.” Because in my head, I was thinking, “Okay, name, address, phone number, image, you [crosstalk 00:10:59].”
Corey: Set and forget. And I think you’re actually onto something there, John. With the guys who are charging, say, less than about 150 a month to do that, I can’t get my head around that’s a service they can make money out of. So all that I see there is they must have set it up initially and then done nothing. Like I set a listing up for my next door neighbour, just over there, and he’s a local sparky, so I set up his listing for him. He got a couple of phone calls within a week, and he booked about three grand worth of work straight away. Now, I set that up for him. I don’t know what he does now, but I’ve got no doubt that that listing sitting there when a dude a 100 metres away pumps into Google an electrician near me. I’ve got no doubt he will still come up because he’s now getting reviews from his customers.
Corey: But at $97 a month, it’s beyond me how people are doing that, and it’s a bit of a concern because obviously those people to small business owners are branded as marketers. You’re a marketer, I’m a marketer, and it’s not a good look. But I’ve got an idea that can work, but what we’ve seen with testing with people is … because we run a few little verticals, and one of them’s Google Ads, and then another one is Google My Business and then strategic stuff as well. So we know that when we’ve had clients with Google Ads and Google My Business, about a year ago that time balance changed. We started to see people in live testing just rolling past those ads and going straight to Google My Business. We’re like, “Wow, this is an interesting thing.”
John: Right. Okay.
Corey: At the same time, obviously Google is fully aware of that testing as well because they’re testing the crap out of it, too, so they know that people are doing the same thing. So they’re investing a lot of time and money into upgrading Google My Business. Late last year, you could start to get an ad in that Google three-pack, so it then looks like a four-pack. So there’s an ad at the top.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Corey: So that changed, and that’s going to be the future of this game is that there will be a lot more pay-to-play, which makes perfect sense. What we know is that small business owners just need to get in there and do the work now, and when it does become a pay-to-play platform more so than it is now, pay the money because you’ll still get a good return on an investment, I think.
John: Well, there will probably be a better investment than something than, say, hipages.
Corey: Well, it’s going to be a better investment than Google Ads because people are flicking past the ads. More so in than Australia, because I’m in New Zealand. People don’t realise I’m an Aussie Kiwi. I’ve lived in both. In New Zealand, people are way more sales sensitive than even in Australia, so as soon as people sniff out a sales pitch or an ad, they run for the hills. So the testing we’ve conducted shows that that Google My Business listing, it’s more of a time than money thing. But for us as a business, time equals money because we got to pay our guys to do the work. [inaudible 00:14:02]
John: I just wanted to ask, Corey, why do you think that is? I mean, it sounds to me that the behavioural patterns might vary between countries. I mean, I remember back when Google AdWords first started, I didn’t understand it. I would purposely scroll down to the organic listings. What do you think is the psychology going on at play there? Do you think people are just more drawn to the map simply because it has more visual impact than the ads? Or are people-
Corey: That’s part of it.
Corey: Yeah, I think that we’ve touched on a couple of things. So difference in countries, so I’ve looked at all the platforms, and I’ve compared New Zealand, Australia, UK, Europe, and the States. Now the behavioural patterns across all platforms is wildly different from country to country, so LinkedIn, for example, huge difference in how you should communicate USA versus New Zealand even versus Australia.
Corey: New Zealand prides itself on being fiercely independent with how they run their country and their lives, even more so than Australia. So I’ve noticed that the sales resistance in this country is phenomenal, so for us as a business, we do a lot of content marketing because it draws people to us, we build relationship. When they’re ready to hit buy, they’ll reach out and say, “Hey, we need some help.”
Corey: I think Google My Business it’s a really well-designed product in that they’ve tested it a lot. It is, like you said, visually appealing because people got used to ads and then organic. The organic, they’re looking at the immediate descriptions, which wasn’t really written as a sales piece. It was written as an autonomous pages, so that wasn’t really satisfying people’s search behaviour. But Google My Business is vastly different.
Corey: When you search on good ole [inaudible 00:15:54], it gives you a description. It gives you a location. It gives us some social feedback in terms of reviews, and then it’s got the button that says call. So I don’t know. If I’m looking for a local mechanic or whatever, I’ll look at two or three, and I’ll call those guys up. So they just know from people’s behaviour that it kind of fits with what we want. We want to pick up the phone, search for a thing, and make a phone call. The end. That works much better than Google Ads because Ads still is a weird looking little snippet that doesn’t really fit with what we need to know really quickly.
John: I think having the map, perhaps, is a big part of why people might be moving in that direction because there’s a map. There’s a physical location. It’s a real thing. It’s tangible. It’s not just someone’s paid to be here, or what’s this website. Who the hell is on the other side of this page? There’s a lot of uncertainty and unknown there’s.So someone scrolls down the page, Mrs. Brown, and she finds that she’s got a problem in the plumbing in the bathroom. She wants to scroll down the page and go, “I know that street. I know where these guys are. I’ll call them.”
John: And that’s the problem I have with these guys that were manipulating the Google My Business listings in that, okay, it might be benefiting … In fact, I’m not even sure if it benefits anyone because if you perform a search, you land on a set of results, and you see a business that’s listed supposedly 10 minutes down the road from you. You pick up the phone and call them and say, “Listen, we got a fucking problem here. We got no power. We need an electrician here.” “Oh, sorry, mate. I’m an hour and a half the other side of Sydney.” Well, what the fuck is going on? No one benefits from that. That’s the problem that I have with that whole approach.
Corey: And I think Google’s incentive is to keep us using their products as much as possible, and I think you’re exactly right. The fact that people can see where it’s located is huge, and then that personal connection, as you said. And they’re going to try to weed that stuff out big time because I think they see that as their future business product. That’s why the platform is now so enriched with, images, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You can put offers. You can put products. You can put events all on there. They really don’t want people to have … Like for Google, if someone grabs the phone and doesn’t have a good experience, that’s a fail for Google.
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Corey: I reckon that what happened two weeks ago is going to happen more and more and more, and all those black hat guys will shoot off and do LinkedIn cold outreach ads, who knows. They’ll do something else where they can make it look sexy, get a fast result before things catch up with them. Because Google, they’re so intuitive, and that’s why I think the map pack is still so relevant. I wasn’t surprised a couple weeks ago when those people-
John: No, I wasn’t surprised. I mean, I saw this coming months ago. In fact, I jumped into a number of the SEO groups. I jumped into a number of the SEO groups on numerous occasions and thought, “You know what? I’ve got to speak my mind here.” And I’d be halfway through a post saying, “This GMB stuff, this shit’s going to end in tears.” And I thought, “No, I won’t post this because I’m going to upset too many people.”
Corey: No, actually, I love it. I love the honesty.
John: Sure enough, sure enough it fucking happens. Look, I’ve spoken to a number of people via video call like this and in Messenger, and the amount of bullshit that people are selling, running around the internet. Oh, there was one guy, “I’ve got a local plumber that’s got 700 listings in the map pack.” I was, “What the fuck are these guys doing?” I said to him, “What are you going to do when all of this comes undone?” And he said, “Oh, you know, I’ll go and do something else.” I just don’t understand the mentality behind that.
Corey: I think a part of it, too, though, John, is first of all, I want to congratulate you for being so bloody honest. It’s so refreshing in the marketing game to see people who call it how it is, and I think Aussies, we’re known for that. But most of the guys in those groups are all from other countries, and there’s a lot of bullshit that goes on. It really sucks because we get branded as snake oil salesmen or whatever. And it’s great that your voice pops up because people … you’ve been around for a while.
Corey: The other thing I was going to say was it kind of reminds me of James Schramko’s idea of own the racecourse. These guys are building assets on somebody else’s platform, so there’s always an element of risk with that. So the guys who are optimising … like for you, you’re building the centre of that hub, which is the website. The platforms that plug traffic into over time will change, but if someone’s built their whole thing on one of those hubs that goes into … one of those spokes that goes into the hub-
John: Yeah, you’re fucked.
Corey: … it displays an element of risk. It changes all the time. We all know that. I just hope that people … Every single time we get a new client for whatever, I always suggest they talk to our SEO guy as well because it’s such a critical thing, and it’s the only thing that people own. They still don’t get it. They still don’t understand that your Google My Business is owned by Google. Your Facebook page is owned by Facebook. You’re LinkedIn is owned by-
John: Yeah, that’s exactly right. I mean, I was a part of James’ group for a number of years, and I understand exactly what you’re saying. This is a common mistake that a lot of business owners make is in that they don’t diversify their fucking marketing efforts. I got a client at the moment, 90% of his traffic is coming through Google. I’m like, “Dude, this is all well and great while it’s okay, but if something happened, you’re fucked.”
John: What I might do, Corey, is just revisit these three things that you mentioned here, these three points, because I had a couple of questions just wanted to go back if we could. I just wanted-
Corey: Yeah, man. Sure. Go for it.
John: You said that posting regularly on Google My Business, and this is something that I’ve been seeing around, people talking about GMB posts. I’m guessing that might be something that would be comparable to say Instagram where you’re showing a level of activity, you’re posting about what’s happening in the business, how you helped certain customers and new product or service.
John: I understand that, but I guess my concern there would be business owners making the mistake, and I’m talking about business owners here, not marketers, business owners making the mistake of breaking that own the racecourse golden rule in that they’re posting constantly on Google My Business and not on their own site. So what’s your take on that? My take would be post on your site first and then rework that post, and then post it on Google My Business.
Corey: So we do all of that. I’d suggest that people take a bunch of topics that they could talk about and educate people about and humour people with or whatever or how-tos or FAQs and whatever, and craft out posts across a variety of places and figure out what works. What is interesting to people? What are they commenting on? And then absolutely if a little post on Google My Business or even LinkedIn or whatever turned into something that generated lots of traffic or comments, turn it into a blog post. It’s almost like micro research. You could use …. The thing about Google My Business posting, John, is that often times it’s not actually getting tonnes of views yet.
Corey: Some of our customers they get a lot more views on their Facebook stuff, their LinkedIn posts even, but we still recommend they use that feature because we know it’s best practise. We know that when we do it for clients, it’s allowed us to elevate some people above competitors who aren’t using that feature. Ideally, though, you would use that and definitely repurpose it because ideally, as you would know, it might only take one or two mega posts on your blog to drive your traffic into the next realm and get your business really cooking.
Corey: I view all that as little bits of research. Did that work? Did that work? Did that work? Do people care about that? Do they care about that? Do they care about that? Where can I repurpose it? Often times, we will grab people’s Facebook posts and see what’s worked pretty well in the last month, use that for Google My Business rather than having to recreate the wheel.
John: Yeah, I often do that for SEO. That’s a common thing. I hear it all the time. Business owners, say, I go to their site. They haven’t created a piece of content in fucking five years. “We got nothing to write about. We’re not interesting.”
Corey: I was going to say.
John: “How many times can you talk about trampolines?” And then you go to their Facebook page, right, and they’re posting fucking 12 times a day.
Corey: Yeah, or Instagram got people uploading content to their page or whatever.
John: Yeah, that’s right. I get the reason why. Because the thought of having to sit down and create this fucking huge piece of content that’s going to take them three days, nobody’s got time for that. So these micro posts, what you just mentioned then, Corey, micro posting, I can get in, I can post a quick photo, one or two sentences, and I’m in done, and I’m out of there. I can get back to running my business. That makes sense.
John: That could be, in a sense, a reverse of what I’ve always taken the approach create a piece of content on your site first, right, and then syndicate it out in an effort to drive traffic back. But what you’re saying, and I would probably agree what his, and I’ve certainly actually done this myself, posting in various groups or within your GMB, Instagram or LinkedIn, if that gets a lot of fucking interest, you can say, “Hey, people are really interested in this. Let’s leverage the shit out of this. Let’s take that and then bring it across and publish it on our own site.”
John: It’s funny that I find myself saying that because I’ve actually done just that. Shit, because I’ve had a few posts blow on over at SEO Signals and a few other places, but fuck, this is opportunity to create a solid piece of content.
Corey: The thing about content marketing, because at heart I’m a content marketer. I love content marketing. I started my whole agency after reading a content marketing book years ago. What we think will work sometimes doesn’t work, so we’ve got to wait for the feedback from the humans to give us that data. Go, “Oh, wow. I posted sometimes on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago. It said, “Do you use LinkedIn on weekends, yes or no?” And it just went berserk because it touched a nerve with people. Some people where like, “Oh, my god, my weekends are sacred.” Other people are like, “Yeah, I’m always on the hustle. Blah, blah, blah.” But the discussion got flowing, and it touched a nerve. It just shows that marketers really, we just are experimenters. We have a theory. We think it’ll work. We test it, and we have to wait for the data to go yes or no, and then just keep putting our resources [crosstalk 00:27:05]
John: Yeah, you’ve got to be guided by the data and not gut feel, and that’s where I think a lot of business owners and marketers probably go wrong. Yeah, I would agree with that absolutely. I’m a big fan in providing the MVP or just testing something with the smallest amount of time, money, and effort to see if there’s interest and then leveraging that if it does prove worthwhile. That could be … I guess that’s exactly what we’re saying.
Corey: That’s what we’re saying, and I’ll hark back to one of the things I advise people in my coaching programme is we need to create an ultimate guide for your business. Let’s say you’re a real estate agent in Parramatta. You would over time craft out a blog post about the ultimate buyers guide to Parramatta. You could talk about the schools, the parks, the sales, blah, blah, blah. It only takes one thing to really kick off. You just don’t know what that one thing will be. It’s like that old saying, “Half of marketing works. I just don’t know which half.” You’ve got to be on the dance floor to win it.
John: Yeah. It works 95% of the time. It works all the time 25% of the time, but it’s one of those weird fucking things.
Corey: Yeah, true.
John: Yeah, but I mean, I often talk about these t-shirts that I wear in these videos. I did the same thing with these shirts because I’m a member of a number of different board groups on Facebook. I would have someone do the design. I would go into the group and say, “Guys, who wants this fucking shirt? It’s 49.95. I’d go 50 pre-orders, and then I’d send the shirts out to be printed.
John: I mean, it’s all about … so I’d make five grand and then fucking have the shirts organised and sent out. It’s really about trying to eliminate waste and guess work and protecting your time and your money.
Corey: Yep, totally.
John: Yeah, so the Google My Business posts, I mean, I get that. One thing that you mentioned that I scribbled down here, when you touched on that earlier, Corey, was that you said Google rewards you for that activity. Can you expand a bit further on what you mean by that?
Corey: Yeah, so that comment is based on feedback from actual client accounts. We’ve got one guy who does this all the time, pretty much full-time, and our own businesses that we manage as well. What we know is that when people are using the platform regularly and to its full capacity, IE, they’ve gone to the info tab. They’ve filled that out and possibly they’ve done all of the information. They’re using posts. They’re replying to reviews. They’re replying to questions. They’re using all of the functionality to elevate their ranking. Sometimes someone comes to us and if you search for their bullseye phrase in their local area, and they’re ranked 20th on the Google My Business listing, over time, as they use the platform to its capacity without being rocket scientists about what they’re doing, but they’re just using it to its full capacity, they get rewarded. They just move up. I think that’s pretty obvious. Google wants people to start to rely on this product as a key part of their business so that when they start to open the invoicing for it, it becomes a better product for them.
John: So when you say move up, you’re talking in the map pack that they start to elevate in the listing?
John: Okay. That behaviour to me sounds very similar to Facebook’s ad. The learning algorithm and also the way it works on LinkedIn. The more engagement and interaction you get with posts, the more that it starts to spread.
Corey: Yeah, it’s exactly the same. It’s the same thinking. All of these platforms got little different elements of their algorithms which are different. What we know, we’ve been doing it pretty heavily for a couple of years now. Like I said, posts, for example, some posts don’t have a massive amount of views, but we know that posting itself is a positive signal to the platform to get someone in that top spot. We know that a higher review number and an average of higher than 4.5 for their reviews is a very strong signal as well. We know that a slow, crappy website is a negative signal. So very much like SEO with positive and negative signals. We’ve been going over time, “Okay, that’s good. That’s not so good. Blah, blah, blah.” You kind of build your game plan around that. It really is where some of the SEO, and it’s not as complicated as SEO, so a small business owner can learn it themselves over time. We recommend they jump on there.
John: That’s probably why I disregarded it for so long because I thought, “Google My Business, just add your name, address, phone number, fucking be done with it.” Because I was so heavily invested in traditional SEO.
Corey: Yeah, we get people … The course I’ve been running in my free group this week, the last listen in that is all about NAP. So what we know is much like [inaudible 00:31:57] owns citations and things, if you’ve got any mistakes in that name, address, or phone number anywhere across the internet, that’s a negative signal. You’ve got to nail that, so it sounds really basic, but when we audit accounts, we often see that their name is different here from there, or their phone number might have plus six one over here where it’s 02 over there. All those little things need to be ironed out, so we have a guy that filters through all the citations and websites.
John: Yeah, that’s definitely true because I worked with a plumber years ago, and he moved. He updated his Google My Business listing, but all his business citations were all still at his old address. He said, “Why the fuck do I keep showing for Lane Cove?” Of course, I got in there as part of my starting point, foundational link building and going through and tidying all that shit up. I said, “Dude, you’re still listed at fucking Lane Cove. Google’s picking up all of these signals, and they think you’re still at fucking Lane Cove.”
Corey: And Google, the way I explain it the business owner who doesn’t have a tick background is Google is just like a human. If you confuse Google, they’re out. I looked at a service the other. I went to their website, looked at their service. It was really poor messaging. It was clear what they did. It was just a mess. I’m out. I was confused. I’m out. So any confusion Google just … that’s a negative signal, so it’s really important to audit that stuff and fix it up. People don’t think it’s a big thing, but we know it is.
John: Yeah. Yeah. No, I would agree with all of those points. The next one down, number two, you said reviews. Look, I understand that. What can us SEO guys do to try and help our clients do better in terms of reviews?
Corey: I would do two things. First of all, I would set up that service improvement email as a standard feedback that people use. So, “Hey, John,” like I said before, “You bought this product. You bought this service. How’s it going? We’d love some feedback. Can we make it better? If you’re happy with everything, just here’s a link to our reviews. If you’re not happy, email us back.” I love that because it can then let you reach out and have a conversation and maybe upsell or talk to some friends, et cetera.
Corey: And secondarily, I would actually go to their email signature block and just delete the shit they don’t need. They know your email address because you just got an email from them. Delete that. Do they need your phone number? Do they need all those other words? And just replace it with a link for their Google reviews, and just, “Hey, we’d love to hear from you,” and have that link there because it’s amazing what happens when you tidy up that signature block and give them one call to action. We notice that even if people, whatever their Google review number is now, let’s say it’s five, we just want to build on that. It works, but it’s a constant graft. So I would say a reach out email and then tidy up that signature block, and that works.
John: Yeah, that’s some really solid advice. It’s funny that if the client started asking me about enhancing or mucking around with their emails, “I do fucking SEO. What are you asking about email for?” But I totally get what you’re saying, and it makes absolutely sense.
Corey: It can be your most common touchpoint with the client. I had a client this morning that I’d not even spoken to on the phone yet, but we bounced emails back today four times. So he’s had four opportunities to see my signature block, so I just think it’s a thing. People don’t think it’s a thing, but look back at your client interactions. These days, we use Messenger. We’re using a phone list, but we’re still using email a fair bit. So think about how you can make that easier to get those reviews because-
John: What sort of traction and results do you see from that? Obviously, you must see very positive results from doing that, yes?
Corey: It just depends on how … What we try to do with people is we attach a person to their account to prompt them to do this stuff, but you just got to get doing it. You’ve got to actually get in and change that signature block and then send that service improvement email. We’ve had people do that service improvement email and go … We had a sparky in another town not too far away. He went from, I think, six reviews to 15 reviews in about two days. That pushed him right up. So if implemented, it goes well. People sometimes go, “Yeah, that’s a good idea. I’ll do it later.” And we need to work around that. Like, “Okay, let me write it for you. I’ll write the email for you. You just copy and paste and go because it works.” Yeah, but once [crosstalk 00:36:36] it works.
John: Yeah, no, that’s some really great advice, and I think … I mean, email is still such a massive marketing channel. It’s certainly overlooked. Everyone’s running around, talking about SEO, everyone’s running around the internet saying, “Fucking links,” and that conversation needs to change. For what it’s worth, it’s a two-minute task. It’s going to make that sort of difference, then I think it’s definitely worth doing.
Corey: And if you do those little two-minute tasks every week, we put lots of training into our client group. Say, “Hey, do this. If you keep doing these little tasks week on week, the momentum builds up. You build this flywheel of activity. It just bloody works, but you’ve got to do the shit right. You can’t just go, ‘Yeah, I’ll do that tomorrow.'” I say to clients all the time, “You run your business, you run a marketing business for your business. Don’t ever forget that.” You think you’re just a sparky, but you’re also a marketing business for the sparky business. Otherwise, you’ll fail.”
John: Yeah, I mean, I love to see innovation and new technology. I really feel for a lot of business owners, old-school business owners that … I mean, can you imagine being an electrician for 40 years, and suddenly you’ve got to think about creating content and shooting videos and having social media? I mean, there’s probably a lot of sparkies out there saying, “Fuck this. I’m done.” Back in the ’70s and the ’80s, I put an ad in the yellow pages, and now I’ve got to think about fucking shooting videos and starting a YouTube channel. What the fuck is going on?”
Corey: I do. I feel the same way, man, especially the old guys. The old guys who are 55 plus who have been doing it since out of school, basically. Somebody comes along and unseats them from their prime position as the go-to guy. But if someone is that well entrenched in the business, you can actually work with them for a month and set most of these things up at a basic level to get that traction back. It’s not that hard. We’ve got a whole course around, we just call it a Boost Your Online Marketing, and it really is for the person who’s starting out or has been in business and done nothing. It’s totally easy to do. It’s step-by-step because I see so many people who really have no idea. That’s who I love working with because they’re good people, good businesses.
John: Do you provide those at a DIY option or something, yeah?
Corey: Yeah, we do a bit of WIF, and then we’ve got the course which is pay for it, jump into our group and ask questions. Because that’s who we mostly work with is the beginning guys who really just need to get something going. Yeah.
John: And the last point, point three, mobile, having the mobile app.
Corey: Yeah, we love it because, like I said before, people have their phone with them all the time, so if you’re that sparky who’s 55 and you download the app, and you go and fix up a dodgy switchboard, you take a photo of the switchboard before and after. Boom, job done. You might then get an inquiry through the app. It’s there on your phone, pretty much like a text message so you can reply to that.
Corey: Same with the review. You’ll get a review. It’ll pop up on your phone much like a notification, and you’ll just press it and reply to it. It just makes the usage of the whole application far easier, and most people, even the old guys now, are pretty good with using their phone and different applications. We just find it works really well, and why wouldn’t you do it? It’s a free app, and it enhances your whole experience. So you just got to grab it.
John: Okay, so it’s a Google My Business app?
Corey: Yeah, you just go to the App Store or the [crosstalk 00:40:11] or whatever it’s called, and you type in Google My Business, and it’s a big … looks like a blue house with a G in the middle. You just grab it, and it’ll [crosstalk 00:40:18]
John: It sounds to me that that might be something that might be easier, especially for the old school guys to get their head around it. Just carry it with them, and like you said, take some photos while they’re there perhaps with the customer. Ask them for a review. Could they do something like that? Or is that-
Corey: They can send a link to get a review done straightaway.
John: Okay. Okay.
Corey: I would then suggest they put that link on their invoice and the email with the invoice, but definitely taking photos of jobs. If you’re a tradesman, before and afters are a great way to sell because people will go, “Oh, look at that dodgy toilet, and look at what it looks like now.” Or look at this roof that got replaced, and look at what it looks like now. It’s so easy to do, and then guys can actually have those photos on their phone as a way to get data or content onto other platforms later or show customers. “Oh, yeah, your roof looks like this roof we did last week. Look at what we did at the end.” That is a powerful tool, and most tradies won’t be at their computer until 8:00 at night anyway. So if they’ve got the phone app, life just got easier.
John: Yeah, that’s something that I talk about within my own training and certainly with my own clients, Corey, documenting rather than thinking you have to sit there creating content. Just fucking document what you’re doing.
Corey: Yeah, I think I’ve seen that phrase before. Maybe you said it or somebody else said it but I love it because it works. The only other conversation you need to have with people is how much documentation or advising do you do before people get the willies about giving away their expertise. My line is always, “You can’t give away too much information. It’ll always help you. Most people on social or whatever aren’t ready to buy anyway, but they might have a fiend who is at some point. So documenting is a fantastic way, especially for tradies and local businesses.