Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick Her Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Marie Ysais, for our next ‘Pick His/Her Brain’ session and I want to thank her for the participation.

Marie is a digital marketing ninja who owns a boutique agency in Texas.

She is a living proof that women can do a better job of growing an agency better than most men can.

You’ll often find her giving killer advice in various threads like a prophet enlightening the world.

If you’ve ever wanted to start or grow your agency, she is the person to talk to. It’s time to pick her brain.

Here are the rules.

1) I’ll let the thread go on until she asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until bitcoin value goes to zero.

2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s success and strategies.

3) Please do not PM her and bother her. If you have a private question, ask for her permission on this thread when appropriate.



Table of Contents

What was your journey like?

My journey was like a lot of others.

I actually was in the process of building an app development company when I realized I needed SEO myself.

I hired and fired three major SEO firms and decided I had to do it myself.

The rest is kind of history and once I got into SEO just for my own company I was hooked.

Starting off in SEO wasn’t easy but I made sure to align myself with a few website developers that could feed me clients and I was able to grow from there.

What’s the most difficult part of running your agency?

Time, I feel like we all need more time in the day to rule the world!

I have a boutique agency and it is my goal to personally know each client on a very personal level so time is always a factor.

What does your daily routine look like?

First thing I start with is the Five Minute Journal and I write down my goals for the day and my expectations.

I like to spend 30 minutes each morning and night with goal setting and expectations, gratitude.

I start opening emails at 9:30 sharp each morning and take care of whatever happened over night.

Most of my time is now talking with clients and or consulting other agencies that have a site that is stuck.

And I end my SEO day around 4:30 each afternoon. pretty boring

Curious to know the largest place you find new business or is there a largest? Word of mouth, referrals etc.?

If you can align yourself with a partner that does not offer SEO you will find it works really well.

It isn’t easy finding a great partner and sometimes it falls apart.

But it is the fastest way to grow. Also, Referrals are key and if you provide an amazing service your clients will just refer you without having to ask.

I don’t like to put all of my eggs in one basket so I use multiple methods to bring in new clients: Partners, referrals, ranking sites, and cold emails.

I do not have a sales team. I don’t need a large volume of clients in fact I prefer to work with a select few compared to other agencies.

How do u counter prospect inquiries such as “why do i need to sign up to your service?”

I am not very good at this part because if they don’t FEEL they need me then I don’t want to sign them up.

I want businesses that know my value and know the value of my services.

If they feel they don’t need me and I try to turn it around they become problem clients. I guess I am some what of a snob.

What made you interested to learn seo?

I had to learn it for my own company, an app development company.

I couldn’t find an SEO company that could get the job done so I decided to learn. After that it was history!

What’s your best advice/method on finding people that do not do SEO to partner with?

Website Developers used to be my favorite but that has since been a bit over played.

I have found success with an IT company, business consultants, startup consultants that actually provide funding to the startups.

What will u recommend to starter to do first?

When I first got started I preferred to learn SEO first and then worry about clients later.

I wanted to feel confident in what I was offering.

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If you had to pick the best guide on onsite seo, which would you choose?

I love the Diggity Evergreen SEO guide.

That is a great starting point.

But I have seen everyone interrupts all of these guides differently so once you read it and you apply you, you can then see what really works well.

If an agency that knows nothing about SEO just hired you to manage all their clients sites… where would you begin?

You just begin the process by learning about the existing sites, the industry, competitors.

You begin to learn where they are currently and where they want to go with digital marketing.

You would also need to know a background on what has already been applied to the sites and so on.

It is a very long and evolved process for sure.

Where do you buy links from?

Everyone and every where. I like to test and try new things.

I like guests posts for clients right now.

There are a few different options in the groups.

Really, I like to buy links and test them out first so I know what I am buying before I apply them.

Where would you advice a new person interested in digital marketing to start off in relation to learning, maybe an ebook you would recommend, maybe a channel you follow. ( Source of knowledge) generally that would be helpful to a new person in the industry.

Matt Diggity for sure is someone that produces a ton of content and guides to help make it easy to follow.

Also if you want to work in Local SEO , Mark over at LCT is amazing, And Steven the owner of this group has some GREAT things out there that includes my favorite topic, content.

What’s the onboarding process when you get a new client?

The hardest part is collecting all of the passwords and necessary items to review.

When I first take on a new client I spend a few days just reviewing what they have and what I feel they need.

Most of the time when a client sends over their passwords they never work!

When you setup a website and plan for content how do you go by that? Do you look at the competitors on the first page or you feed a website with content based on your experience?

I do both. I always check competition to get some ideas and a starting point and then I use my experience to fully flush out the entire campaign.

How did you deal with scaling? As you grew and needed to bring people on-board then how did you balance existing clients with the need to recruit & train staff and find additional clients?

I have had my bumps in the road with scaling more than once.

I actually had serious scaling issues and almost gave up twice!

I training while you have existing clients is painful.

I spent a lot of long hours but in the end it does pay off.

For me the best fit was to find interns from the colleges, contract workers here in my city and VA’s.

That combo works the best for my team.

When you said “being said I test the heck out of spam links” what spam links you referring? success ratio? How do you start optimizing brand new GMB?

GSA is my friend and it can still rank just about anything but don’t tell anyone! lol

Brand new GMB is pretty easy with map embeds and sending over links. But your test is way more impressive than mine for GMB!

Do you work only with a specific niche? Or do you take on clients in any niche?

It took me forever to finally find my niche!

I guess you can say I work within an industry and not a specific niche.

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I just found the people I enjoy working with the most! but that took me years to figure out.

Does SPAMing citations work anymore? I know you ride a horse to work, but have you ever considered riding a donkey?

I have never considered a donkey!

But I might have to check into that.

LOL Spamming citations still works to rank the citation and or get a boost in your money site rankings….didn’t you go white hat?

How have your experiments with traffic gone? I think you had/have a group for that. Any “review” and info would be much appreciated.

I tested traffic specifically on local and Youtube videos.

It pushes rankings for sure but with out consistent traffic you will see a loss in rankings.

It is a good tool to use to push you to the top spots but then you have to hold their interest.

If you could do one thing in this biz forever what would it be? do you listen to music or TV when you are working? if so what type of music or shows.

If I could do one thing forever…. it would be testing!

I don’t know why I just love to figure out how things work. I usually listen to the silence while I work.

Usually the house is loud so when I work I like it quiet.

What’s your biggest SEO pet peeve?

The fact that everyone rushes to backlinks instead of manipulating the content…..

When assessing a new client’s existing website, what is the first thing you check?

Their content and on page first…. want to see the framework before checking backlinks.

Do you have a specific process for checking Content or do you look what the competition is doing and match that?

I do look at the competition to get a general idea.

I have been going off of a lot of testing and I’m in the process of creating a guide that will follow the steps I take when I evaluate a site.

I just have to find the time to complete the guide and get it out.

Do you outsource any of the work? If so with whom?

I do outsource to a team I trained and trust. Her name is Moon and she hangs out in a few of the groups.

Do you do any ppl or rank and rent?

I do rank and rent. I prefer rank and rent over ppl these days.

Do you only do SEO?

I do Seo. Lead gen and consulting.

An SEO agency gets a new gig, site architecture and lack of silos is crap. What do you do first to fix pages, to get logical navigation happening with the right breadcrumbs? Do you focus on that first, or what would be your action list for getting a site back to top rankings?

Good Question!

We also see that all the time. Each site is always slightly different and we take a week to two just for research depending on the size of the site.

Nine time out of ten we launch a SILO first like we teach in the course (nice plug by the way, I will TAKE IT!)

Once we get the SILO in place or the beginnings of the SILO we can work on all of the rest, navigation and everything else that makes that site sink.

But the reason for the SILO work first is our silo pushes rankings pretty quickly but we have a two week time frame once a silo is in place.

So if we work on that first the first month of reports look really nice to start off with and woe the client.