Pick His Brain!
I’d like to introduce one of our members, Noah Lopata, for our next ‘Pick His Brain’ session and I want to thank him for the participation.
Noah is the role model for a local SEO agency. He has mastered lead gen, CRO, technical SEO, and outsourcing.
With 10 years of SEO experience under his belt, he can diagnose and fix local SEO issues and makes them look effortless. Please feel free to pick his brain.
Here are the rules.
1) I’ll let the thread go on until he asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until the FaceBook stock 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 him and bother him. If you have a private question, ask for his permission on this thread when appropriate.
What kind of lead gen model do you prefer?
Most effective for us is local GMB listing to a nice page that’s CRO’d with a form fill as the target conversion.
What is the common mistake that affiliate site does and as a result, they get less conversion?
Too busy and no specific conversion points that stand out from the rest of the page.
How do you balance work and family?
I can work any schedule I like as long as I make sure to put in the time. I can schedule around important times and events.
What’s your main KPI?
Conversions. Phone calls, form fills, email inquiries
What are the 5 most common problems or mistakes you see people do with local SEO? If you can share 5 on-site and 5 off site it will be great.
Not optimizing page titles, H tags, low word count, no conversion points, poor user experience
Is there a formula you follow for evaluating a sites conversion rate optimization strategy? What is the piece of knowledge you wish you could teach your younger professional self (not character type lessons but actual pieces of knowledge a out business)? How do you learn new things about business and seo today? Has anything changed in how you learn today that you didnt do when you first started? What things have you decided to outsource that you once did yourself? Should beginners focus on outsourcing or should they embrace doing all things on a project so better learn?
Most sites have no strategy.
Raise your prices.
This group, read blogs, testing. FB groups changed the game for me.
I outsource tasks that can be put into an SOP and aren’t highly mission critical.
Beginners should outsource the tedious stuff they don’t like to do
What % of your agency is lead gen vs client seo? Do you find it difficult to manage both at the same time, being that the pay structure/strategy can be vastly different?
Mostly client facing. It isn’t too difficult and gets easier the more SOP’s we put in place
What’s your most effective client acquisition strategy?
Best tips and practices on optimizing for post purchase reviews, re-engagement and testimonials?
Going the extra mile for the customer, then if it’s at scale using software that automates it.
If it’s a smaller company then asking via email or text and including a link and following up 3 or 4 weeks later
What’s your strategy for out of stock products? On one hand, I know Google doesn’t penalize 404s and that they’re pretty normal to have on ecommerce sites. On the other hand, I keep thinking that those visits that happen right between the product has finished its stock, up until Google deindexes it as a result of missing from the sitemap, can lead to a high bounce rate. I’d like to know what’s your take on this.
Keeping them on with a button asking if they want to be informed when the product comes back in stock.
Could also feature related products on the page that you do have in stock
Can you spill the beans on your first six months of seo tasks for a new client?
That’s a huge amount of stuff. Also varies from client to client. Too much to list.
Best tips for blog posts on an e-commerce website to boost SEO.
I would recommend building original content on the product pages vs blog posts.
Most e-commerce sites are very thin on product descriptions and can be easily outranked
What’s your local SEO usual workflow?
Page titles, meta’s, h tags, content, city pages, citations, niche directories, backlinks, tier 2’s
Any recommendations for services that get you citations / directory listings?
We have used most of them. Now we use Bright Local primarily.
Whitespark is solid but more expensive.
For backlinks, what do you go after/create? Web 2.0s?
– depends on the site.
– pull competitors backlinks and go after those
– create great and useful content
– press releases
– guest posts
For guest post opportunities, do you have any top tips?
Provide useful info that people care about and avoid the fluff.
Send a sample of a good piece of content you have produced.
Be real and don’t cut and paste your outreach message.
What about FB ads? Should they be directing people to landing pages or should they be getting information such as website they are interested to optimize and then reconnect with them on email etc?
Lead ads if you make sure to ask qualifying questions they have to fill out and don’t just auto populate.
Landing page would work as well, would produce less volume but be higher quality
When you start with a client on a monthly retainer what reporting to you do? Do you give them a copy of the audit? Do you share evidence of what you have performed: citations, social signals, backlinks etc. Basically how do you prove to your client that you have done the work?
We send monthly reports and have a monthly call if the client has time.
We would give them a copy of anything if they were interested.
Most clients aren’t and don’t have the time or interest to ask many questions.
They may be gun shy at first and ask for some proof but we are in contact enough that they know we are working.
Also once leads/calls/sales start flowing it becomes pretty evident.
But yes if they were interested they could receive all of that.
In reality most don’t even open our monthly report (we track it)
How do you test out your conversion optimization? What do you use (software wise) how long do you let the test run for? (how many clicks)?
When a/b testing we use VWO or even Google split test tool.
How long or how many clicks depends on how much traffic they get.
Most sites don’t get enough traffic to hit any statistical significance.
That being said the longer the better of course.
In most cases it’s low traffic so we track winners by the amount of conversions.
What daily traffic in local would you equate to being statistically significant enough to receive leads/calls?
You can receive leads and calls with low traffic, the statistical significance comes in when a/b testing.
For example the test variants are shown to 1000 or 5000 people before you declare a winner.
Do you have any tips for real estate agents in local search? I think GMB is the only option since organic is all Zillow etc. except for the neighborhood/community serps where you might have a chance.
Lots of client testimonials including video on the website.
Use schema. Use multiple geographic areas via GMB and location pages.
Become a neighborhood resource. Lots of local content.
Location pages? I have a friend who’s a home inspector. Should he have a separate page on his site for each neighborhood?
On the city/neighborhood page load it down with city specific info.
With a home inspector that should be easy.
You could list the laws and statutes for each city, have a checklist they could download (opt-in?), etc
Put as much city specific information on the page as you can including a map, but be careful not to over-optimize for the city name as that can happen easily.
You could even post pics of certain violations as examples and geotag the images for different parts of the city.
Let me know if you need any help once you get the ball rolling.
We struggle with cOnversion rates. plenty, plenty site visits, but our conversion rate sucks. I dont don’t want to take up too much of your time but do you have a blue print or have you published Your top tips?
– put yourselves in the shoes of your visitor and go through the site page by page
– make everything easy. So easy.
– less is usually more
– give all types of visitors a way to convert. Some want to talk, some want to email, some want to download.
– make your conversion points the opposite color of anything else on the page
– get a CRO audit. Without looking at the site or knowing the market it’s tough
I’m interested to know if you have any recommendations for ranking images in the SERP?
Fast load time, proper alt tag, use image schema
What form providers do you use for your optimized forms (assuming you use 3rd party?)?
We usually use contact form 7. Other forms if the client already had them installed.
What kind of pricing model do you use and how do you decide what to charge people for your services?
Monthly for the most part, minimum of 999/month and go up from there.
We have pieced out specific services into a price sheet as well that vary and start at $99.
This is usually just a conversation opener though to be able to send pricing when requested.
I prefer to custom quote based on the specific situation.
We struggle with pricing the CRO right. What’s your formula?
Audits are $250/page for a written and video audit both.
Deeper work is quoted job by job and very loosely based on an hourly rate.
What is your GMB strategy for local? What tactics do you use of you find yourself stuck in a certain position?
I detailed it out above for the most part. If something is stuck we add more citations.
More niche directory listings, make sure our categories are matching the competitors who are ranking.
Fine tune the optimization of the landing page for the GMB, sometimes use map embeds and a few other tricks.
Fav place to get information? Fave place to travel? Fav success story in your online career? appreciate your shares.
– this group, followed up by seo.alltop.com
– Hawaii and Vegas
– Building up my mom’s seamstress/tailor business so she never has to worry about getting clients again.
Now if I could just get her to offer online courses so she doesn’t have to do all that work herself that would be the ultimate success in my mind.
What resource/product would you recommend for a CRO audit?
Seriously though I hear Kurt @ Convertica is great but I haven’t used them personally.
From what I have read they know their stuff.
Other than that there just isn’t a lot of quality stuff out there that I’ve found.
Feel free to shoot me a PM if you have something you want me to look at.
What’s your thought to some sites that has a robots.txt setup blocking all SEO tools(spiders)?
As in why are they doing it?
To hide their backlinks from you.
Should you do it?
If you want but if I see that it makes me more curious.
Usually they don’t block every tool so I just use one that they missed
Whats your favorite link acquisition strategy?
No favorite. We use several methods.
Backlinks are a part of my strategy but not my main focus.
What would you advise for a local lead gen site that generates mostly call leads but, there’s no affordable call tracking?
Not sure to be honest, I haven’t run into that situation.
Maybe an add on to their product or service that can raise the average price of a sale?
If title is also h1, is it best to start off with a paragraph of content or photo and then h2? Also what would be best use of h2? An lsi word or phrase?
I would get a developer to remove the h1 from the title so you can customize it.
Yes use multiple h2’s. You could use a variation of the keyword but it’s better to make them supportive of the content on the page.
For example if the page was about a certain make of car such as Ford then the h2’s would be the different models of the car and would each have at least a paragraph about that particular model.
How did you get so smart???
Probably more experience than smarts.
The experience comes from failing over and over and over again and learning from each one.
Thanks for the nice compliment! Appreciate it.
How does Bot Traffic impact SEO?
Not sure it does. I’ve never looked into it.
Favorite tracking software/programs for both SERPS & GMB?
I use SEMRush primarily for both.
Also Ahrefs and Mangools for the overflow.
I’ve tried lots of others and this is the best layout and presentation of data for me.
Easily sortable, great visual representation, etc. I am able to dig in when on my phone if I need to, a lot of trackers stink when viewed on mobile.
Tracking data seems to be as accurate as any once you get everything sorted by geo.
GMB seems to be mostly accurate.
Always open to suggestions and trying new ones as well!
What kind of Lead Gen do you do? R&R? Other? And what’s your preferred SEO model, and why? Local Client SEO? Lead Gen? Affiliate? Other?
Most of my lead gen is just sending the calls and form fill leads to the customer and charging per lead or per month.
We control and rank the sites.
Client SEO is the majority of what we do. I also do a lot of SEO and CRO audits.
It includes a lot of local but we also have e-commerce and national work.
I like doing the audits a lot. It’s really helpful for the client and I enjoy it.
Every site is different and has a different set of issues so it’s like getting a new puzzle every time.
1) For local do you target main keywords on the homepage, a service page or both? Is there a canibalisation issue if doing both? 2) Do you utilise any of the new onpage analysis tools for local SEO (CORA, POP etc)? 3) What kind of link building do you do for local?
1 – Bigger volume head keywords with the home page, all others with specific service pages.
Yes there will be a cannibalization issue if you do both
2 – POP and Cora. Not as much with Cora but when I hit a tough one I’ll pull a report
3 – lots of citations and niche directories. I also scan all my top competitors and cherry pick the best links and citations they have and go get them.
I try to do 20% more than my closest competitors if I can keep them all high quality
Do you build any silo to reinforce rankings, if yes how do you proceed (menus, linking,…)
We do but don’t really call it siloing I guess.
More just logical structure of themes on the site with clear and easy to follow navigation.
I’ve never really dug into siloing much further than reading some of Bruce Clay’s articles on it so I probably don’t have a very enlightening answer for you on this one.
In larger cities (eg. 1M+ people) is it possible to get local leads without proximity (eg. multiple offices)? Every local search I do in my area shows businesses near me – because there are plenty of them. Would you agree with the view that in cities with 1M+ people and with competition, proximity is the #1 ranking factor?
For G local it’s a third of it as far as I know.
The other two are relevance and prominence.
If you build those up then your proximity range increases.
I do find I can outrank businesses that are closer to the searcher by having a more informative and authoritative site with better technical SEO, citations, etc , yes.
How far away from the searcher have you ranked before?
It depends on a lot of things.
I would caution against defeating yourself before you start with negative thinking.
Try it and see what happens. You will learn something along the way and that’s invaluable.
If you talk yourself out of it before you start then you will have 0% chance of success.
Can you recommend any tools to use for comparing and optimizing sites for local search rankings?
So I’ve been seeing a lot of the top players using the homepage as a strictly brand only and not using location based terms on the homepage. They build city + services pages instead even for the biggest terms. Is this better than using the biggest location + service on the homepage? Also say you have an agency. Would you create Los Angeles seo and Los Angeles web design and use schema for both pages or would you just build Los Angeles, include both services on that page and use schema on that page?
I do both.
I rank for more competitive geo targeted head terms with the home page and then use city and service pages both.
I would absolutely build an seo page, a web design page, a CRO page, an e-comm page, anything you really want to rank for should be a singular page IMO, just easier.
Also a better experience for the user so they don’t have to wade through a bunch of stuff to find what they need.
The easier and more specific we make it for the user the higher our chances are of converting them to a sale.
Also make sure to have strong CTA’s throughout the page and at the bottom of the page, but only one per screen.
What kind of work/jobs are you doing? You mentioned you charge $999 a month. What does that include exactly?
We have clients in a lot of different niches. Our main categories SEO, CRO, audits, web design but we do other things as needed.
The 999/mo is our lowest plan. The work done depends on what the client/site needs and goals as they are all different.
We assess and audit each one individually and build an appropriate plan out.