Sticking To Your Gut
Hey and thanks for joining me on this edition of the podcast, coming to you from the SERPWoo studios. I'm your host, Jason Brown, the co-founder of SERPWoo In this episode I want to talk about sticking your neck out, going with your gut, and decisions that follow that within your business. First I want to give a shout out to Sean Riggs at Search and Rank Technologies, Javier Marcilla at NinjaSEO.es, and [Ian House 00:00:45] at [IanHouse.mate 00:00:49]those guys support SERPWoo. I see them out there on social media talking about us, spreading the love.
I actually met Sean Riggs yesterday in person while I was up in Cincinnati, and it just kind of blew me away. I was actually in a meeting that me and Sean were both in. Me and Sean did not know each other whatsoever. Just had met in this meeting, and during a break of the meeting, Sean just happened to ask me what I do, and I started telling him about SERPWoo, but I never mentioned SERPWoo. I just kind of went into about that I own a tool that is kind of like a rank tracker, similar to a rank tracker but we track your SERP and we track the movement of the top 20, top 30, even top 100. We track it daily and we give a lot of insights to people who want to know about their competitors or know about online reputation management.
Before I could even finish, Sean stopped me mid sentence and said, "Man, it sounds exactly like SERPWoo." I thought, I honestly thought I was going to shit my pants actually, because I've never met anybody in the real world who knew about SERPWoo, or I've talked to SERPWoo and they even understood it half the time. I was kind of shocked and just kind of taken back, because here was somebody that I did not know, who knew who SERPWoo was, and we just happened to be at the same place at the same time. It just blew me away, so I just casually looked at him and said, "Yeah, that's me. That's my company." He was shocked too. It was really neat to meet somebody. If you own a business that basically does no marketing whatsoever, which is exactly kind of like how SERPWoo is, we don't do very much marketing, it's all word of mouth.
You also meet somebody who knows your business and knows you, especially if you live in an area like I live, that online marketing or anything online is ten years behind. It's just such a pleasure to meet somebody, especially when you're an entirely online business, you meet somebody in real life by chance, just randomly, and you don't even say, "Yeah, I'm the owner of SERPWoo." They kind of give that fake, "Oh yeah, I know who you are." You know they're just being nice. Sean knew what my company was. He knew about us, and it was just such a pleasure.
It's kind of I guess the same feeling that a celebrity gets when they're a nobody and then they become a celebrity and they go out the next day and everybody kind of knows who they are and they run up to them and talk to them. It was, what I figured would be that same kind of feeling. I was totally shocked. I was totally caught off guard. Then after I was extremely flattered. It helps me know that SERPWoo is definitely out in the marketplace, that people are definitely using it, talking about it, and it's such a great feeling.
Now I want to get onto the podcast, now that I've kind of talked about that and gave my shout outs. With the podcast today, the last couple podcasts I've kind of been talking about books that I've read and giving advice out of those books. I don't have one that I've read. I am reading one right now called, The Blue Ocean Strategy, but I don't want to give any tips out about that in this podcast yet. I do want to talk about something that, I know it's not a huge craze now, it's been a craze for awhile. It's kind of dying down and not being talked about, but I'm coming across a lot of people who are talking about this one thing. That they make their productivity, or they're making their outlines for the day about one thing.
I've talked to a lot of people who actually have the wrong idea of what the one thing is. When I talk to people, and I kind of talk to them about how I structure my day, how I want to structure it, they'll come back to me and say, "Well I just think about one thing that I want to do and I concentrate on that one thing and get it done." Hey, that's great if you've got one thing that you want to do during the day, but I don't understand how if you're running a business and if you're an entrepreneur, that you're just focusing on one thing. Especially if you're up and coming, you don't have any employees, and maybe you don't have any BA's, you're focusing on one thing and then patting yourself on the back and relaxing the rest of the day, or doing menial tasks during the rest of the day.
The way I look at it is, if you're only focused on one thing and then you do nothing else, that's horrible. If I focused on one thing in my day, I would not make money at all, because I've got SERPWoo, I've got other things that I do. I've got a family. You really have to juggle and prioritize all of these tasks. I'm not saying that people who focus on one thing don't have other tasks, but what is the importance of this task? Task, say for my family life, I've got trash that needs to go out to the top of my driveway at a certain date during the week. I've got little home improvement things, like I'm rebuilding my shower floor, and that needs to be done before the shower can work. I started replacing the siding on my house with cedar shingles instead of just cedar siding. I've got groceries to buy. I've got bills at the end of the year, like my car taxes and my property taxes and my homeowner's insurance. That's just a few things from my family life.
I'm also thinking about the oil in both of my cars need to be changed. My boat needs to be winterized. That's just home life. Then I look into business, there's multiple things that need to happen with SERPWoo at the end of the year. There's multiple things that have to happen with a couple of the clients that I still have for paper marketing. If I focused on one thing, and let's just say today I focused on replacing more of my cedar siding and cedar shingles, nothing else would get done with my businesses. The oil in the cars wouldn't get changed. The trash might not get taken out. Stuff for SERPWoo at the end of the year would not get taken care of. My homeowner's insurance would not get paid.
Even though I know I have these other tasks, it's basically how you prioritize it. To me, everything is important. There's not anything that I can really pick out to say, "Well this is extremely more important and I'm only going to work on this one thing all day today." Because nothing else gets done. I kind of wanted to clarify that for people.
The way I look at my day is, I have three big items that I need to get done, not just one, I've got three. I've got a client that needs a report done, and they need some of their ad word stuff tweaked. I've got stuff with SERPWoo, where I'm working with Bench.co and they're asking me a lot of questions about, "Well what is this charge? What is this outstanding revenue? What are these outstanding expenses?" I've got things with my house obviously that need to get done. I could break it down into other businesses, like for example I've got a shipment of a product that I need to send to Amazon, and I really need to get it there so that they can be ready for the first of the year. I've got to go through, poly bag some stuff, make some labels. Then get up to the post office and get it shipped out.
There's always tons of things to do, and a lot of these things are equally important. Maybe rebuilding my shower floor is not as important because I actually have two other bathrooms in my house, so maybe it's less important. If I was to look at, is SERPWoo more important than one of my clients, or is it more important than my Amazon shipment, or is it more important than this and that? That's where I've got to take a really deep thought and say, "You know what? A lot of these things are relatively important in all aspects, and I really need to tackle all of these."
When I wake up in the morning, I try to wake up early enough that I can handle at least three of my large tasks. Then if I can get through those through the day, I'll start working on my smaller tasks, which might be running my car up to Jiffy Lube, or if possible get it ran up to the dealership and have the oil changed and the tires rotated, because I obviously don't have time to do it myself here at home.
When people tell me that they work on one item a day, it just kind of baffles me. I have no clue how these people do that. Maybe I'm talking to the very small percentage of people who only work on one task. To me, if you're only working on one task and then you're kind of fiddle faddling around through the day, taking a three hour lunch and then reading blogs, I'm just going to come out and say it, you're not going to get anywhere. I'm not afraid to say that because I run a business, I have for years. I've got other things that I do that are business like. I've got a family, I've got a home. Focusing on one thing a day, yeah you're not going to get anywhere. That's my advice from a book, even though I didn't read the book. I'm sure you all know which book I'm talking about, and the strategy that I'm talking about.
If you're focusing on one thing, you definitely need to rethink that, because I like to focus on three very important things during the day, even if I just had SERPwoo and I was single, didn't have a house, didn't have other business interests. If I only had SERPWoo, if I focused on one thing a day, like say just talking to Bench.co about my charges in my bank account, that's not enough. You need to be working as much as possible within your business, on multiple important things. If you've got people that you can delegate to, great. That's awesome. A lot of us startup people don't have people that we can delegate to. A lot of times we hire VA's for specific tasks, so maybe they can't take on these more important tasks.
If you can get by in your business, maybe you're a drop shipping eCommerce guy, and you can get by with doing one thing a day, like making sure the orders go out, great. If you were to add two more similar important tasks, like maybe increasing your marketing, or maybe looking for new products each day, I feel that you're going to get a lot further in your business, and in life, than if you kind of look at this, "What's the most important thing today?" Just focus on that only, because I feel like if you focus on one big important thing a day, you might fall into this trap of getting this premature pat on the back and now you can kind of coast the rest of the day.
If you don't do that, great, but I just know how most average people are, and how most people seem to act. How people grow into bad habits. I would never allow myself to do that. I've got to get through three big things a day before I give myself a pat on the back and go enjoy maybe a nap, or go enjoy reading a forum or go take my lunch. I want to get those three important things done first before I get my back on the back. I definitely don't want to get eased into just doing one thing, thinking I did a great job. Here's my trophy and now I can go do what I want.
That's my advice. It did not come from a book that I read. Next podcast I'll have some stuff from Blue Ocean Strategy. For the podcast this week I really want to talk about going with your gut, sticking your neck out even in the face of adversity against experts who say otherwise. Because I'm going to tell you right now, a lot of people out there are just sheep. I don't mean any disrespect to that. I know there's lot of people out there who aren't sheep, who don't follow the herd. I'm going to tell you right now, the majority of the people that you'll meet in life, they're cattle, they're sheep. They just follow the asshole in front of them. That's the mentality of a sheep literally, and when we're talking figuratively, they just follow along with the herd.
Even when you're in a room full of experts, and you're in some kind of meeting. Say it's a strategy meeting and it's you and nine other people, and somebody speaks up and says, "Well let's do this because of x, y, z." Then everybody else is kind of nodding their head and saying, "Yeah, I like that." You know that that's a horrible idea, even if you're not 100% positive, and you don't have all your thoughts correctly formulated for an argument. Even if you just feel that twinge, you need to speak up, go with your gut, stick your neck out and go against that, because more than likely nobody's going to strike you down.
Out of the other nine or ten people in the room, eight of them are just following the herd. One person started nodding, the other one's seeing it, they started nodding. They kind of want to out graze each other so they say, "Yeah that's a good idea. Let's do this and let's do that." When you speak up, you're going to be able to interject and tell them why that's not a good idea. Maybe you get to pivot the argument some, or at least bring in some caution. Nobody's going to strike you down. At the very worst, the person who originally brought up the idea might say something. You're going to do a whole lot better sticking to your guy, sticking your neck out so to speak, and actually being the one who speaks up to say, "Well I disagree with that." Or maybe, "I do agree with it, but we need to do it this way instead."
When you start listening to your gut, and you start sticking your neck out, you're actually practicing something that ends up creating you being a leader and a thought leader, and you end up practicing trusting that gut and sticking your neck out, taking that risk. That over time is actually going to make you a better entrepreneur, a better business leader, and help make you make better decisions for the rest of your life. I'll give you a couple of examples that I've had personally. These are kind of widespread.
I was in a negotiation one time with a client, and I knew this client had the ability to spend lots of money each month in ad words. They were making a lot of money also. They had several employees, several Va's. They had been in business for a long time. I knew that with the business that they were in, the history that they had had in ad words with the amount of money that they were spending, and what I was seeing as their conversion value also, that I knew I could charge them a premium.
I wasn't planning to charge them a premium just because of their longevity in the space, or what they were selling, or even how much they were spending in ad words. I know a lot of agencies charge a percentage of that. That's not why I was going to charge a premium. I charge a premium because I bring premium value to the table. I'm not going to work with you unless I get a certain amount of money each month. I'm going to charge a minimum, and if you can't meet that, then you cannot hire me. I have a lot of experience. I bring a premium value to the table, so I expect to be paid a premium for the value I bring to you.
While I was working with this person, I had learned that they had several VA's, they had several employees. They had even told me about their star employee, because I had actually asked about it. I was like, "What kind of success metrics do you look for within an employee and who's your most successful employee?" They were telling me about them and they even told me how much they paid them. Right off the bat I could tell, well if this is your most important employee and this is what you pay them, my premium that I charge is actually more than what you're paying your star employee right now. That kind of got my creative juices flowing.
The more I talked to this guy, I realized that I'm going to stick to my premium, even though I know that they pay other people less, because when it really comes down to it, I don't care how many employees you have and what you pay them. Maybe most of those employees are sheep themselves, and they're mediocre. They might bring you value, but it's probably mediocre value compared to what I can bring you. I'm not just going to go through the motions, clock out from nine to five and do this and do that. I'm going to do what's best for you as my client, and I'm going to look after you. I'm going to do more than the typical consultant would do, therefore I'm going to command a premium, because there's only one of me.
While we were going through negotiations, they were really hesitant on my price. They would say things like, "Well we can start it out lower and as trust builds, pay you more later." I didn't even object to it. I actually acted like I didn't even hear it. These negotiations went on for quite awhile actually. Even though I knew that they were probably going to low ball me, I was going to stick to my premium. When it actually came time to pay and send an invoice, my premium did end up being a problem. I had no qualms whatsoever of saying, "Hey listen, you've got to be the right fit for me, just like I've got to be the right fit for you. If this doesn't work out, have a Merry Christmas, happy new year, and maybe somebody else will work for you." I ended the email.
Past that email there was a few more emails that came back and forth. My stance was always, "Hey, this is what I charge. This is what you're going to pay. If not, see you later. Sayonara, I'm gone." That was my gut. That was me sticking my neck out. Not that I ever compromise on my price, but I stuck to my gut. I didn't let anything that they were trying to do bring me down, or any of their logic bring my price down. Sticking to my gut, sticking my neck out and not really caring how they pay their other people, in the end got me exactly what I wanted on my terms. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Now with going with my gut and sticking my neck out, another example is with SERPWoo itself. Nobody had ever brought to the table the value that SERPWoo brings. There were many companies ripping each other off left and right in the rank tracking industry. Building a rank tracker is pretty damn simple actually. It's not very complicated. It's been done over and over again, and everybody that does it offers the same cookie cutter services. When I was looking at a tool that could make me a better SEO consultant, or a better digital marketing consultant years ago, I asked myself some questions. What are difficulties that I have when I perform digital marketing services for clients? I didn't let any question be a stupid question.
Some of the things I came up with were, are the services I'm providing actually moving my clients up in Google, or was it strictly by luck that somebody else got a manual penalty and got pushed down, or there was an algorithm changed and several people got pushed down, and I just got bumped up because of that? I also ask questions like, there's these algorithm updates that Google is coming out and saying, "Oh we've done this algorithm update." Then sometimes I would go to other websites and see news of an algorithm. I asked myself, you know what, I feel like there's probably updates going on. They're not penalties, but there's updates going on that maybe Google's not advertising. Why would they advertise all of their algorithm updates? There's probably updates going on that these other news sites are not aware of. I want to know when these small changes happen, these small rolling changes happen that nobody's talking about, nobody's advertising, because simply nobody knows about it.
I also wanted a tool that, if I had an inkling that I wanted to jump into a new vertical, because I was building websites for myself also. I was also ranking them. I was also getting paid with Ad Sense, or with affiliate network offers. I wanted to be able to say, "Hey, is this particular keyword, or this particular vertical or offer something I can really compete into?" Even though I was a very confident SEO person, I didn't want to make things harder for myself. I wanted to kind of find low hanging fruit, but I also wanted to find the gap between the low hanging fruit and stuff that was super competitive.
One of the things that I thought of was, it would be really nice to know that if I want to sell these Snuggie blankets, because this is an offer on a CPA network, can I really rank for it, or is this something that everybody else is doing and dominating? There's potentially people there who are a lot better at SEO than me, and I'm just going to be spinning my wheels to try to rank. In order to do that I thought it would be nice to have a tool that I can throw in this keyword and watch for the next 30 days, 45 days, what everybody's doing in the top 20. I was really focused on top 20, top 10, but I wanted to see the top 20 so I could see people creep up from like maybe 17th up to 6th place before it actually happened.
When I looked at all those questions, and I looked at what would help me as a tool, it was what SERPWoo is. It was a tool that I could track a SERP, a Search Engine Result Page, by giving it a keyword. It later formed into also watching what's happening with online reputation management. If somebody's talking about my company, or there's some negative results for a client, I can spot all that and tag it and find it. Look at all of my competitors, and look what's going on within a certain keyword space. That's where this totally new idea, never before seen product, never talked about product, was essentially born.
A lot of people that I've talked to up front just did not get it. Later I realized that they were not advanced SEO's. They weren't people who were really interested in leveling up in life and getting above the competition. They were fine being mediocre. I stuck my neck out. I went with my gut. I knew that this is a tool that I need. This is a tool that would give me an advantage over other people. I knew that this would ultimately help other people too. That's me sticking to my gut, that's me sticking my neck out, because nobody had ever heard of this. Nobody had ever thought of this.
Even today we get a lot of people who are just stuck on, "I just want to track my rank." Listen there's tons of people that can track your rank for you cheaply. They don't have the services, they don't have the value that SERPWoo has. Even though we've got a lot of people trying to copy us, in the end, SERPWoo can track your domain for you. You put in your keyword, you put in your domain in the project wizard, we can definitely track your domain. All you got to do is go up to the top, over to the right hand side. We've got a little graphic that's three dots vertically, and you can select just look at my domain.
You can even check if you're doing online reputation management, just looking at our goggle view. If you want to look at the site links individually or not, and group them in. We've got a lot of advanced rank tracking, and I'm doing kind of air quotes here. We provide you so much more value than a rank tracker. That's me and my partner sticking to our guts, sticking our neck out and doing what basically the industry told us something different. The industry was telling us rank trackers, rank trackers. We came out and said, "You know what? Rank tracking is dead. Long live SERP tracking."
Now with sticking to my gut and sticking my neck out, I could definitely tell you plenty of times in business where I've done something totally radical, stuck to my gut, made a million dollars net profit off of it. I have succeeded more times with sticking to my gut, sticking my neck out, than I have ever paid for failure. I remember very vividly before I was self-employed, I had a job and I was working as a consultant with this company that was a directory website. They were a directory for airplanes. If you had an airplane that you wanted to sell, you kind of put it on this directory website. It was kind of like the Craigslist for airplanes.
The guy who owned the company was like one of these armchair quarterback SEO marketing people. He just was very full of himself, had a very big ego. Thought he knew everything because he had created this company and this website, and it was doing well enough to cut him a paycheck basically. Essentially what was good with his business was he was first to market, so he kind of dominated that market. It wasn't because he was brilliant in marketing, he was just first to market. He had that first mover's advantage and other people were closing in on him.
He had hired me, and over time this guy never really updated his website, except for the new listings for airplanes. He never updated the layout. He never did any SEO to it basically. As other airplane directory sites popped up, what would happen is somebody who was selling their Piper, or they were selling their Cherokee, they would buy the directory listing on his website, but they would also buy listings on the other director websites, because they want to get as much exposure as they can. It's kind of like when people sell a home, they want to get as much exposure as they can so they advertise in a lot of places.
What was happening was these people would list their Piper for sale, and they would write out a description and headline and a price. Then they would basically duplicate all that information on all of the other websites. What ended up happening was, during this time of marketing of Google, duplicate content was really being looked at, not only on your own website, but on other websites as well. Google wanted to find out who was the actual authority. All of these websites had the exact same listing for this possibly one airplane. This guy was at a disadvantage there. Even though he was a first mover, he was losing ground to these other directories because all of the listings were the same. He wasn't really updating his site.
I kind of came in and I said, "We need to change up the on page SEO. We need to change up some of the navigation and linking internally within the site, and we actually need to improve these pages and maybe even ask for more information. At least extra fields that the other websites don't have so our listing has a little bit extra oomph to it." The guy totally wanted to sandbag me on it. He was like, "No, no, we just need to do this and we need to do that." He didn't want to listen to me. Eventually what I ended up doing, because I think it's better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission, I did things my way. I just basically went against him.
What ended up happening was his traffic started to skyrocket. For many listings where he was fourth, third, even keywords he wasn't even listed for at all, he started to be number one for. These keywords that he had never been ranked for because he just didn't think about them, he was starting to rank first for second for. His traffic skyrocketed. For his site, he made all of his money selling advertising. He did make some money to advertise your aircraft when you bought the listing, but the bulk was actually from display ads that he would sell to people who sell parts for airplanes, or sold other services for aircraft and pilots. Because now that his traffic was skyrocketing, he could charge more for his advertising.
Even in one meeting, I remember in this meeting he looked at me and he said, "Jason, I was totally wrong. You were totally right. I'm so glad that you did this. It's helped us tremendously." I got rewarded for it. If I wouldn't have went with my gut and stuck my neck out, that would never have happened. I probably wouldn't have gotten any results for the client. I probably would have been fired. I would have never have got that acknowledgement that I was actually right. It was such a good feeling. That's sticking your neck out. That's trusting your gut.
I've got another example also. I was in a meeting for a pretty big, well known university. They were wanting to talk to me about how to improve their online lead generation programs for their adult online students. This is basically distance learning. If somebody wants to do a degree completion because they've got some credits at another school, then life happened, and now they're looking to complete that degree but they're wanting to do it remotely from home. A lot of these colleges come to me and pay me to consult with them.
I was in one of these meetings, and we were talking about a lot of different strategies. They were going after an exercise science degree. This is something really cool that I want to tell you. A lot of you all might not know this about SERPWoo, but if you're on a bronze plan or a silver plan or a gold plan, even if you're on beta actually, you can actually put in this keyword right now. Put in the keyword exercise science degree. You can make a new project or add it to another project. Put in that keyword if you're on one of those SERPWoo plans, and you can actually get the entire history of that keyword, because that's a keyword that I personally track myself. If you put in that keyword, give it a little bit of time, you should be able to get the entire history of that keyword.
I'm not actually sure how much data I've got on it, because I didn't look specifically, but I know I've been tracking that keyword for two, two and a half years. You can actually set SERPWoo up to look at the last 365 days of that keyword. Once you put it in and it brings in the history for you, it'll just import in all of the history. You can look at that keyword right now. I'll give you some time to do that. Go ahead and put that keyword in. If you're on the copper plan, or if you're a free user, you're not going to be able to see that. This would be a perfect chance, if you want to follow along, because this is going to be stuff we do in future SERPWoo podcast.
If you want to upgrade from copper, or you want to upgrade from free to the bronze plan, silver plan, gold plan, even some of our plans that we don't have on our website, like our diamond plan. If you want to upgrade and follow along and watch these visuals as I talk about them in this podcast and in future podcasts, do it now. If you've got a bonus, say you signed up for copper and you're on a bonus program, your bonus will follow you to your new plan. I think for, say our silver plan, we've got 2000 keywords. If you were on a bonus plan, your bonus would come over and you'd probably have more than 2000 keywords.
Go ahead and upgrade if you want to do that, that would be an excellent reason. You won't lose your bonus that you've got currently on copper. If you're a free member, this is a great reason to upgrade to bronze at least. If you're on beta, bronze, gold or silver, go ahead and put in the keyword exercise science degree. Give it a little bit of time. It'll import all the history.
What we were basically talking about was we were talking about ways that this college could get, organically, more leads for their exercise science degree program. Somebody had mentioned, "Well let's do what the top results are giving. Whoever's in position one, position two, position three, let's research them and emulate what they've been doing as far as content goes, social media, back links, yada, yada." Here's where I stuck my neck out. I almost said nuts, but that's another topic. Stuck my neck out and did a gut check and went with my gut, and I was able, because I knew that even though that sounds like the correct plan, it wasn't the correct plan, because I had knowledge that other people did not have.
If you look and you set your focus date to December 14th, which is today, this is a perfect example. Set the focus date to December 14th, or check on December 14th and SERPWoo for exercise science degree. You'll see in third place is GGC.edu. They were in third. If you pretend that you're in this meeting with me and we're looking at the top three results. We see the first two and then we see GGC.edu in third. You would just think, "Let's check on these top three sites, including GGC.edu, and let's find out hat GGC.edu is doing as far as back links." You go check a few other tools. Let's see what they're doing content wise, so you do some research and check a few other tools. Let's look at their social media.
It's all going to be for waste, because when you look at exercise science degree, and you look at the last 365 days, that's very important, you'll notice that the only time GGC.edu was ranked for exercise science degree was December 14th, 2016. Today, the date of this podcast. Before that time, they were nowhere to be found for a huge chunk of the year. Then really early in the year, they were actually bouncing around. I don't have the screen shot right in front of me, but they were bouncing around between 10 and 20, then they disappeared, and they magically showed up third December 14th, 2016.
I was able to stick my neck out and check my gut, go with my gut, and tell them, "Listen, we're not going to even look at this website, because yes they're ranking today, but they've got a history where they've just completely vanished out of the SERPs. When they were in the SERps before, they weren't in a very good position to begin with. Today might be a fluke. Today might be some kind of algorithm update where tomorrow they're not there again. Why would we copy all the backend links, content and social media of a site that only has one day of top ten appearance for the last 365 days?
What I was able to continue on with my argument was, as we proceeded, we were talking about hiring somebody for SEO because, at this point I'm there as a consultant. I'm not there to sell SEO services. We were talking about who to hire, how to hire him, what to pay for them. I was being completely unbiased, because that's what I'm there to consult for, and there was a lot of talk about, "Well we can only afford this much for an SEO person, so let's look for somebody that's out of college or two years out of college." They were being very calculated about this, and I had to step in and say, "Listen, unless you hire somebody extremely exceptional in search engine optimization, especially with higher education experience, you're going to be throwing money out the window.
What you end up finding out is, if you look at this exercise science degree keyword. This is actually a phenomenon that happens across a ton of keywords, the top three spots hardly change. What you'll normally see is if you look at 365 days of a particular keyword, if you're tracking that long, you'll even see this just in 30 days. The top three hardly ever change. You might get a dip one day, but then it goes right back to where it was before. You might get some interchanging, like second becomes third and third becomes second, then they flip around, but it's almost the next day or the next couple days, things are back to normal. The top three hardly never move.
Now with the exercise science keyword, the top two are very solid. What you find is, anything below third, not just for this keyword but for a lot of other ones, there's a lot of dramatic ups and downs. You've got keywords that are ranking sixth one day and then the next day they're ranking 17th, and they stay at 17th, 16th, 17th, then they move to 19th, and then they go back up to maybe six. Then they go to eighth, then they go back up to sixth. It's just all over the place.
What I've been able to learn by building SERPWoo and watching it is, quite frankly, and I'm saying this generically but it's for the most part true, if you're not first, second or third, you're nobody. That's just the hard truth. Especially when you're in a very competitive space, like higher education, and you're going after a very competitive keyword, like exercise science degree, if you're not first second or third, you've just wasted your money. You can't count on that keyword to deliver leads to you, or get traffic to you daily, because one day you're going to be fourth. The next day you might 17th. That's pretty much nowhere. You might be sixth and then the next day you're 12th, that's nowhere. Especially with the fact that Google is taking over more of the top of the page with local results, with their own services, with ads. Being top three is more important than ever.
I'm not saying that top three is important because of all those changes Google has made. Last year and the year before that, I seen this same phenomenon happening. This isn't something new, just because Google is taking up more real estate with ads, with map placements, with service listings. Now that we're actually in an age where there's more people on mobile than desktop, those people with the small screen are seeing a fraction of that first page, at least as far as an organic listing is concerned. Being top three is more important today than it's ever been. This trend of the top three hardly ever moving up or down, has definitely been something that I've seen for going on more than two years now. I've seen it with SERPWoo because SERPWoo was tracking it daily, and was tracking the whole SERP. If you're not first, second or third, you're nobody.
You're not going to be able to depend on that traffic day to day to build a steady, solid income stream for your business. Unless you're ranking for hundreds of keywords and it just happens to be the right mix on certain days that allow those keywords, or towards the top of the page, that you can make income that way, with a distributed network of key words. For the most part, if you're trying to go after these really competitive keywords, these really short tail keywords that make a lot of money and bring in a lot of leads, you're not going to be able to have a stable business. One day you're going to be fourth. One day you're going to be 11th, day after that you're maybe 17th and you're back up to six again and you're making some money. If you're not top three, it's not stable.
If you're not top three, you're probably not even going to get seen or clicked on half the time. Unless you're playing in keywords where, quite frankly there's not a lot of traffic, there's not a lot of competition. Maybe you just got into a new market so it's a new keyword. Maybe something like that's the exception, but if you're going after something like exercise science degree, this is where I stuck my neck out and I went with my gut. I told these people, "Listen, unless you hire somebody exceptional at SEO, and you give them a lot of money to do their job, and you give them a lot of money to be able to perform their services, you're wasting time, you're wasting money, because anybody else is not going to get you in the top three. If they don't have higher education experience, they're probably going to struggle and not get you to top three. You're going to waste your money."
Unless you're going to buy all of the services that this person needs, and you hire them and pay them because they're exceptional, anybody else you hire straight out of college, maybe two years. You're hiring based on what you can afford, which is maybe $42,000 a year. You're going to be lucky to find a mediocre person to be able to plan and strategize for what you actually need.
Something else that was very important is, I was able to show these same people the actual results within SERPWoo for this keyword, because I had been tracking it for a long time, just because I had been in this space for awhile, and this is a degree that other colleges and universities have. Not only were they able to see the chart, the top 20 chart, and see the lines go up and down, up and down daily, for all the listings below second in this case. They were able to see that the people who were in first and second had been there for a long time, and trying to unseat those people from that first and second listing, and to overcome that trust that Google has already given them, was going to be a long road and they needed somebody who was a real expert in this field to be able to potentially unseat them in the future.
I was able to click on the volatility tab, and show them how today, yesterday, last seven days, all the way up to the last 28 days, how the volatility was for this market. It was up in the 70's. If you check it right now, it's still in the 70's, because this is a highly volatile keyword. There's people moving up and down all the time. Part of that is because it's so competitive. There's so many universities and colleges, and even affiliates and aggregators, lead aggregators, trying to rank for this keyword and capture some of these leads. It's going to take somebody that really knows what they're doing, and you're not going to find that person for $42,000 a year. You're definitely not going to find that person in the middle of Cincinnati or in the middle of Iowa, or wherever you're at.
You're probably going to have to hire somebody remotely, or pay somebody to move, if you want them in house, from a bigger area like New York, Miami, San Diego, somewhere where there's a hub of digital marketing stuff going on. Even if you did find somebody in some remote area, like in Brandenburg, Kentucky, you're going to have to pay them a pretty penny. If they can rank for exercise science degree and get first or second, they're going to be doing it for themselves anyway probably. If not, it's going to require a lot of the right work with very few mistakes, to get you ranked and unseat those people that Google already trust.
As we wrap up the end of this podcast, it's time for the business idea. I kind of struggled with this one, and I think I got it narrowed down pretty good. I've noticed that there's a lot of automation software, it's mostly stuff like Interspire and you're looking at things like Marketo, even HubSpot. There's even a self-hosted, I think it's called Omatic, and I might have got that name wrong. There's tons of these softwares, and I know that a lot of these softwares work where somebody signs up on a lead form. They get put into the system. They get tagged, and depending on what they do next, they maybe move to another list.
I know that there's some email marketing campaigns and platforms that can kind of do this through their API, like MailChimp, Get Response and AWeber. A lot of these systems work on if somebody opens another email, or somebody clicks a link in an email. Maybe somebody that's already filled out a lead form and been put in a certain list, if they fill out another lead form, like say for a second type of white paper. They basically work on when the user takes a hard action, like clicking a link in an email, or filling out a second lead form. Not a lot of them work on things such as what they viewed.
I kind of had this idea. What if there was a system like the other systems I've mentioned, but it basically works on cookies or beacons? If you came to my website and you downloaded my white paper, I know that you're an interested prospect now, within my lead funnel system. I kind of have an idea what you're interested in because of the white paper you downloaded. What I would really like to know is when you come back to my site, and when you view other content. Let's say that I'm a digital marketer and I have this blog and I talk about a lot of digital marketing stuff. It ranges from ad words to pay per view networks to affiliate marketing, just the whole line. You fill out a form to get maybe my free ebook, and that ebook is maybe an entry level guide to ad words. Now you're in my system. I know that you're interested in ad words.
I know that you're interested in my content as a digital marketer, but you're really into ad words. Now my system naturally would start sending you, if I've got a really good funnel, would start sending you information about ad words, maybe try to upsell you on some more information about ad words that I wrote. Maybe it's like a course or maybe it's another ebook or maybe it's consultation. What I'd really like to know is, when I send you more emails and you click on those links, and maybe you fill out another form to get another freebie, I don't want to know just that. What I want to know is when you come back to my site, and you haven't done anything, but what you have done is you've read more articles. I would really like to tag you and know about those other articles that you've read, because I definitely know that you're into ad words.
Maybe what I don't know is you're into Facebook ads too, but because you've came back to my website and you've viewed articles about Facebook. You didn't view articles about Beam really. Maybe you read one, but you've read ten Facebook articles. You maybe didn't read any of the pay per view articles, like for traffic advance or lead impact. Maybe you read one or two, but you've read ten Facebook ones, that's what I want to know. Maybe I don't have another lead magnet for Facebook. Maybe I don't have, well maybe I haven't sent you a Facebook email yet, to have you click on that Facebook link for me to move you or add you to another list. What I want to know is, what other stuff are you reading? Is it just going to be all ad words stuff, or now are you moving and gravitating to Facebook? Are you reading everything because you love all of my content?
I think having something that works on cookies, something that works on pixels and beacons that track impressions, not just if these are hard actions like signing up for this particular newsletter, or this particular lead magnet, or clicking on this link in an email. I really want to know what you're doing on my site, and how much time you're spending on all those pages. I don't want to go to Google Analytics to look at it, I don't want to go into another system to look at it. I want to go into one system. I want it to be self-hosted. I wouldn't mind if it was cloud based, but I would love to have it to be self-hosted. I would love to be able to say, "If you've performed this many actions within this particular tag, or section of my site, adds you to another list automatically." I'd also like to have the ability to do it manually.
I guess what I'm really getting at is, I want to look at the people that haven't done any hard action. They're just coming to the site every day. Maybe they're reading certain articles, even though they're on another list of mine for ad words. Maybe they're reading Facebook and now I can start sending them Facebook stuff even though they have not clicked on a Facebook email link that I've sent them. They haven't signed up for a Facebook lead magnet. They haven't signed up for a newsletter for Facebook. For whatever reason, they're reading it, I want to be able to add them to that list and send them Facebook stuff. Then possibly sell them more, or at least engage with them more with the topic that I know that they're reading.
I think that would be fabulous. There's probably, maybe a system that does that right now. I haven't used all of the automation systems out there, but I'm thinking that of all of them out there, there's very few that would be doing this based on impressions from a website. I think that would be a fantastic tool. I think if anything, it could be a fantastic addition to an already built tool. That's my idea. If you love it, great. If you hate it, that's great too. Let me know in the comments below. If you have any questions, concerns or thoughts. We're going to start bringing on more people onto the podcast for interviewing. I've already got a list of people who have asked me to be on the show. I'm going to start reaching out to them and bringing them on and getting their content on. If you're a listener and you want to be on the show also, contact us, leave a note in the comment, and we'll reach back out to you. Thanks.