Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Simon Cornelius, for our next ‘Pick His Brain’ session and I want to thank him for the participation.

When Simon says something, people listen.

In addition to people recognizing him due to a popular game called ‘Simon Says’.

Simon became a knowledge powerhouse within just a few short years.

He attributes his success to active learning. It’s something we can all learn from him.

If you have any questions related to local SEO or client getting methods.

He is the guy to talk to as he is a digital marketing ninja.

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 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 him and bother him. If you have a private question, ask for his permission on this thread when appropriate.


Table of Contents

What seo meetups-conferences are you going to this year?

Only one conference planned so far – Rocks Digital in Dallas.

It’s in my back yard.Will see you there!

I attend 2 meetups in DFW: SEO/SEM and a wordpress meetup.

Great places to network

What are your favorite ways to get clients these days?

100% referrals.


What’s your story and background?

Dad was an electrical engineer. I went to university and got a BSc in CS/EE.

Almost failed my CS xmas homework because I sucked at programming.

Then dad brought home an office computer which had Pascal installed and we figured out together how to do a “travelling salesman” program and recursive procedures.

From that point on, I realized that I could figure out pretty much anything – all I needed was belief that it could be done.

Helped my dad build one of the very first “home computers” (a “Nascom something or other” kit I believe.

It cost as much as a car. Used cassette tapes for program storage, so you were screwed if the tape got mangled.

After graduating uni, I spent 10 years as a software engineer.

Then 17 years in technical account support/project management.

Was laid off in 2012.

Retired, which lasted about a week. Worked on some real estate investments, bought a couple of rental properties.

Got introduced to IM early 2013, which led into the discovery of SEO.

What was the greatest challenge you’ve faced ever since you got your feet wet in digital marketing?

Belief in myself that I can get results.

That changed when I was referred my first client for 595 USD/month.

And I was in at the deep end and had to take massive action.

Always a challenge for me is having a process in place and outsourcing as much as possible.

I am a perfektionist … curses!

Is there one SEO personality, forum, resource or website that you look at and say “they get it”? Besides this group of course.

I don’t know if there was any specific influence that comes to mind.

I joined blackhat community after chatting with James Gregory, and followed (tried to understand) what they were talking about.

(that’s where I first heard about this mysterious person called “Holly” who was off the charts)

Then I started to contribute. I’ll prob talk about that in another comment.

Went through Dori Friends’ POE course and shortly thereafter LPB (Mark Luckenbaugh Brian Willie / Matt Stack course).

Got stuck in to the LCT and LPB community in a big way. I used that as a motivator to take massive action.

I am fortunate to live near some total SEO ninjas like Steven Kang, Tim Vasquez, Angel Cruz (I know I have missed others, sorry!)

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Every person I meet, I try to learn something from. We all have our perspectives and opinions, nuggets etc.

With referrals, do you offer them a foot in the door starter product/package or go straight to offering monthly SEO services?

Right into monthly SEO. I don’t need a FITD at that point.

A couple of potential clients I have offered something like rep management.

But they were wishy washy and not sure if they really had the motivation to make a difference in their online presence.

As you are an expert in ” client getting methods”, what will be your 3 best techniques to acquire plenty of leads (the cold ones), and 3 techniques to acquire warm leads?

For WP management, you will need people who have websites and who have a problem.

The problem may not be obvious to them, so you have to help them discover that.

But where to find these clients with problems?

Find other business owners who operate in a similar space as you, who already have a book of clients.

Ex. I have been working with social media biz owners who offer SEO, but they really don’t.

They would like to, but know they need some tech expertise and would be more than happy to outsource it……to you

Can you explain how does search engines read the content that we have on our website?

If I knew how G’s algorithm worked, I would be in the 3 comma club.

AI, RankBrain and a lot of smart G-men (and gals) over there in NorCal.

Do you find benefit from sharing gmb posts on social?

I haven’t measured that yet. Any social engagement is going to help boost the brand.

What are some definite hot points you’ve found of the G’s algorithm?

Hot points?

Meaning things I can do to help move the needle?


Title Tag


Supporting H2s

Matt Diggity and Nathan over at income bully have some great articles on this.

What’s your opinion or how do u optimize PP, TOS page, Contact Page and about me page keywording? Is it nessecery.

I copy & paste the TOS & privacy, changing out the brand info as needed.

I use an online tool to generate those once.

About us: I’ll actually do a lot of work on this page, talking about things like the brand’s values, mission statement etc.

Contact: not much in the way of content.

Obviously a mobile friendly contact form.

Make sure the phone # is visible on all pages, in a sticky header and/or CTA buttons in the body.

What are your thoughts on mitigating the effects of the IP proximity limitations in GMB Simon?

Since G tells us they look at:

– distance

– relevance

– prominence

I don’t worry about distance so much. If G decides to treat all businesses like a pizza restaurant (B Willie quote).

All I can do is to reinforce the geo relevance of the site/GMB. Besides, if someone is searching for a business from the other side of town, then my client can’t compete.

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Having said that though, I have had a good amount of success with making it geo relevant with things like driving directions and reviews.

Brian Willie has a maps course on this aspect.

I’ve been able to get clients to rank organically in cities 30 miles from the office location by making the pages both geo and niche relevant.

Reviews are almost always overlooked, so I will stress this to the client as well as train them on *how* to ask for reviews.

Buying expired domains and redirecting to your money site because they have backlinks from high authority domains. Yay or nay? Niche relevant.

I don’t do that.

Most of the time I can move the needle with good on page and then some guest posts and press releases.

Do you have a ‘bank’ of places you usually guest post or send press releases too?

PR links can go to inner pages, G maps among other assets that you’d like to boost.

I know that web20ranker will include a link to your G maps.

For guest posts, Terry Samuels or web20ranker are good choices.

Press release providers: web20ranker (DFY) abnewswire, presscable.

Where are you doing your guest posts?

Web20 & Terry S. For the actual sites, you will have to ask them based on niche.

Could you speak to when SEO is not critical? Some websites and other online assets might be brochure like. People are pushed from other resources to read them. I might give somebody a business card, or email them a link directly. There is no search. How can you evaluate the cost effectiveness of SEO, specially for higher value B2B items like consulting in which a decision is not specifically driven from a Google search?

If there’s non-brand search volume and traffic going to the competitor websites.

Ahrefs has a good tool for estimating the amount of traffic to a given website and which keywords enticed those clicks.

If most of the traffic going to a website is for their brand or product, then you’re going to have to focus more on brand awareness.

I heard somebody can verify many GMBs without the actual addresses. Do you have any clue how they do this?

I have heard of that as well, but do not know know how it’s done.

While I do have a few black hat GMB tricks up my sleeves, I am not in a position where I need to create mass GMBs.

However, there is always the potential to partner up with people in the lead gen business.

They build the GMBs and you do the optimization