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Title: Avoiding SEO Scams Part 1

Avoiding SEO Scams Part 1
From Ordinary to Extraordinary Website Link
http//o2epodcast.com/ Article Link
suf/ Everybody welcome back to the From Ordinary
to Extraordinary podcast. This is your host
Victoria Caldwell. And I have another exciting
guest today. Actually hes a little bit different
than some of the other guests, and his name is
Yusuf Chowdhury. Hes a professional Digital
Marketing Consultant, business coach, and
instructor, with the combined 15 years of
experience in the field of Marketing
Research. Hes given lectures at colleges and
universities, both nationally and internationally
over topics such as social media, SEO, creation
of WordPress- based websites, video marketing,
blogging and mobile marketing. And if youve ever
been privileged enough to hear Yusuf speak, or
teach, or train, then youll know why Im excited
to have him on today. When I had him at an event
of mine, which hes come to almost all of them,
all of the guests were just scribbling and taking
notes because he just lays it all out on the line
and just gives you so much value. And hes
definitely an expert in his field, so Im really
excited to have him on today. Victoria Yusuf,
how you doing? Yusuf Thank you so much
Victoria. Im so, so excited and I really
appreciate this opportunity, very, very
excited. Victoria Well, good! Im glad. So I
know you have an appointment, so I just
want to go ahead and jump right in. And I know
Ive known you forever and
weve been calling you the SEO Guy for how many
years. And youve obviously branched out way past
SEO now, so youre just the Online Marketing
Guy right now, so no matter what comes
up Yusuf Absolutely. Well its funny because
one of the new tag line that if you notice,
either I call myself or somebody calls me the
Optimization Guy. And there was a story behind
it because one of my awesome happy clients,
whenever he referred me to their friends and
business associate, he always tells them, You
need to talk to this OG. And Im like, What do
you mean by the OG? Im not original gangster.
He said, No man, that is the Optimization
guy. And this client, he had a deep voice. So
he was like, You need to go to the optimization
guy. So from there, I took that name and it
started another YouTube channel where I basically
share all the tips and advice on all the
marketing in general. Bbut it was amazing. I
mean, if I really, really go back, lets say back
in 2005 and 2006, if I started helping one of my
friends Bro. Ali Ardekani with the Ummah Films
and different projects, and this is how it
actually started. I fell in love with some of his
projects and I started to work on these amazing
tasks. And from there, that hobby eventually
became a business venture. Victoria I didnt
know that was when you got started with
that. Yusuf Yes, this is how it happened. I
mean, it was hilarious because Ali was producing
all these amazing videos and one day he asked me,
Hey, can you help me out? I said, Sure! And I
got into this blogging, the world of blogging and
in Myspace, the social media, everything was just
like trial and error. And when the website grew,
and we generally had lots of fans, and attended so
many conferences, then the small businesses
started to approach us and tell
us, How do you use blogging for business? How to
use videos? And from there of course, you know
Bro. Ali. Hes always helpful and also I love to
help anyone that ask any question. I love to help
them. I guess thats just part of how I was
raised. And Alhamdulillah from there, there you
go. The rest was history. Victoria I knew you
were doing it but, yeah you are definitely always
helpful, I know. Every time I have a question or
something you know, I pipe right in. When did I
start in this business? Probably 2002, teaching
myself SEO. Yeah, that was when it wasnt even in
the industry yet. It was just from Andy
Jenkins. Yusuf Oh my God! Victoria Yeah, and
Andy is old too laughter. Yea Andy Jenkins
taught me how to set up my first site in 2002.
Thats when I set up my first site, and I bought
his book, e-book. Yahoo Store Profits. And then I
was all excited, Im like, Now my stores up.
And then my next problem was, How am I going to
get people to this store to buy?
laughter Yusuf You now this is amazing.
Because when I started learning SEO later on,
because I would technically say I started in
social media rather than SEO, like you know, the
videos and the blogs and content. Later on,
around like maybe at the end of 2007, I knew of
the SEO I wanted to start to get into it deeper.
Unfortunately, all the SEO knowledge that I
gained mostly were Black Hat, you know, Black Hat
SEO. So I was thinking like, Oh this is cool! I
can rank the website. I can look at the previous
project that you know, lets say that worked on
Ummah Films and
whatnot, and how it brought me traffic. I
remember when, for instance, Bro. Ali
used to post those videos. Id take those videos
and upload them to like 50 video sites
manually. And from there, some of the different
blogs and whatnot, so I thought ok this could be
the right thing to do, and it worked back then.
It really worked. So, when I started to learn a
lot of these so called SEO from the so called
internet gurus and whatnot, I really found out
that most of them actually not a good practice
and it will cause a lot of problem. So I start to
join the WebMaster Tools community found within
Google. Then I started to learn more in there
from what is that actual or the correct way of
running the SEO from Moz.com and previously its
used to be called SEO Moz, search engine LAN and
all these other so called white hat. Then I
actually fell in love more because now I know
both, I know that so called Black hat or the Gray
Hat and also the White Hat. And the reason I like
it because, imagine if you start a business and
you want to gain customers and you want the
customers to find you, so the search engine is
the way to go, organically of course. And if you
want to get some sort of fast results, then you
have to honestly try the online advertising which
is the Google Adwords, and Bing, and Amazon, and
Facebook, and whatnot. Victoria Exactly. I
never got into the Black Hat, just because I
knew, actually its how old apparently I am. But
when I got started, it was really just a new
field altogether. Google was new. They werent
the big player in the search engine market to
begin with. It was more the Yahoo and Overture.
And Google was just really up and coming in that
market. So we were doing pay- per-click ads with
Yahoo rather than Google cause their platform
was really primitive. And when they did come up,
clicks were like 5 cents laughter, like
good luck with that now.
Yusuf Oh, forget it. Victoria You get clicks
for 5 cents and thats how I started learning to
do some PPC and SEO. And really, there was no
provider industry at that time and everything was
just online entrepreneurs trying to do them. Of
course, it took off later when people started.
But really, when I was in that space at that
particular time, no one was really trying to
start an agency. They would just try to market
their site. And now, its a totally different
world. Yusuf Youre absolutely correct because
thats why if you go back 10-15 years ago, a lot
of these great web designers or specifically web
developers that can build an awesome website, but
the majority of them dont know the in-depth of
SEO. They might know the basic, just like the
title, and the meta, and the schema, and thats
about it. But they dont know how to strategize
or anything like that. So thats why you got
these so called agencies that only specialize in
SEO. And some of them that are built on the web
development, and they add that service as well
because if you look at it, with so many trillions
of web pages out there, having a nice looking
website is not enough. So you have to make sure
that the website does its purpose. For instance,
it gives the user a better user experience, gives
them what they need, and its fast, and its
searchable, so its becoming reallyEspecially
with all these crazy updates from
Google. Victoria Yeah Oh my God. So thats
another thing. Its good and its bad because,
its good because that keeps our business up and
running cause we can tell the client, Hey look,
I didnt make the change. This is all kind of
change, so we need to change the
strategies based on the algorithm. So it helps,
but sometimes it might sound
negative to some customers. Especially those
unfortunately that did not know how to use it the
right way. Victoria Yeah. I dont know if you
cross this, and I know you do because I dont
think you can be in this space and not do it.
With clients, they come or they come from other
companies or other like you said, so called
experts. I caught that. And they come from these
companies and theyre not doing what theyre
supposed to be doing. Theyre not keeping up with
the updates from Google. Theyre telling them
what to do, and this stuff is banned. I
mean, these are practices I had one guy emailed
me something and say, Hey, can you do this on my
website and everything? I have a consultant to
tell me to add these stuff. And so I looked at
the email and it was basically keyword
stuffing. Yusuf Oh my God! Victoria And I
said, oh my God! So I replied to him and told him
that you know, Google banned this 4 years ago. I
sent him the video, and I sent him the link to
the video and explaining that this video is from
4 years ago. And Google specifically banned this
practice 4 years ago. So whoever your consultant
is, you might want to change this consultant. And
he replied, Im so glad I have you. Because the
guy wasnt trying to take him down or anything.
He was trying to help out but he didnt know what
he was talking about. Yusuf Wow. I was
wondering the same thing. I was wondering why
some of these so called agency still use outdated
tactic. Victoria I think they just dont know.
You know what? I figured, this is my own
thinking, they figured that SEO is so hot, is in
high demand. They can get
a little person here to do this, that and the
other. And as long as they can sell
SEO, theyre okay. They dont worry about
actually keeping up with the rules and the
guidelines, and all of Googles changes. They
dont worry about that. I dont know if they even
know, but if they do know, theyd decide to
ignore. Yusuf You know what? You actually just
reminded me because with growing my business.
What I do right now, I associate or collaborate
with other agencies. And I found out, some of
those big agencies that run an SEO is not an
in-house. So they outsource with somebody else.
And they themselves dont know whether those
tactics are okay or not. That was one
problem. The second problem, Ive seen,
unfortunately this is kind of sad because there
are some folks that know that they actually use
Black Hat but they dont care. Because the
customer doesnt understand how it works. All
they care about is charging money. And the third
situation I noticed, some businesses will charge
you monthly SEO services from like I think a
couple of thousand dollars, which is the typical
price. But even then, they only implement onsite.
So why would you charge monthly for onsite SEO?
Because onsite SEOs only done once. The offsite
SEO, well you have to do it on a monthly basis.
You know, like something on weekly blogging,
content marketing, videos, quality link building,
or that kind of stuff. So Ive seen different
crazy scenarios and its really hard to find a
really, I mean there are actually some few good
companies that I know that are really, really
good when it comes to search engine, but they are
very few that do it the right way. Victoria
Exactly. Theyre very few and far between. Like I
know you, you know, if theres something that I
dont handle, Ill shoot it over to you. And its
one of those things that I just have not.. every
client that just about that
came from a referral had come from a company that
had scammed them.
And one of those companies contacted me one day.
Of course I didnt know. They contacted me to
outsource their web design portion. And so I took
on, but he didnt know that I knew SEO. And so
what happened was, I never told the client, but
it was very transparent that I was a totally
different company and they had my website and
everything. So what they would do is they would
go check out my website. And they will come back
to me. So while Im building their website, they
would ask me certain questions because
they couldnt get answer from their original
company. And so I would explain to them what this
particular term meant. Cause they just had a
feeling that they were just getting a run
around. You know when somebodys trying to take
you for a ride, just in your heart but you cant
really tell. So I would explain it to them. And
eventually some of them thought, Well why the
heck am I paying him for this? And they would
leave because they just couldnt get through.
Once they signed their contract, everything. And
I saw some of this. They would send me some of
the stuff theyve done, and it doesnt matter.
You could be a small business. Well, they
wouldnt talk to anybody who couldnt pay at
least 1,500. But you could be a small business
or a 20-million dollar company, it didnt matter.
And actually, one of them that came to me was a
20-million dollar company. And they had been
bamboozled out of 6 months worth of SEO payments.
And finally, the CEO started thinking, Hey what
are we doing over here? And I was just
dumbfounded because I didnt realize they had
been paying this guy, they had been dealing with
this guy for 2 years. Yusuf Oh my
God. Victoria I came in just to re-do their
website, and it was atrocious. It looked
like something a 6-year old had done than what
they had presented to him.
And I said, This website is horrible. He said,
Yes! But you dont have to tell them that. I
said, He could see it! This guy, you dont
build a company like this and you cant look at
this. I said, You guys actually presented this
to the client? And hes like, Yeah, but dont
tell them that. And thats when I really started
knowing what I was working with. And I finished
up my projects that I was working with because I
had committed to those clients, and I got out.
But it was just terrible. He even tried to sell
the company. And the guy who was looking into
buying it found out there was a lien against it.
I mean, these people are just gorillas. They just
dont care. Yusuf Yeah, and you know? Its kind
of really bad because right now, well on one side
you have the consumer or the customer getting
jacked out of this. Secondly, you have to explain
to them right now, because thats a
bad experience. Now you have to spend some time
to educate them and convince them. So those kinds
of companies make our job, for the one that Im
doing right makes it a little bit
difficult. Victoria Yeah, it makes it so hard.
And I had a philosophy. Its that the reason why
theres so many of them, one it was an easy
business to start. And when youre buying or when
youre hiring an SEO agency, you dont know what
youre buying. You really dont understand the
product. And thats what I tell the clients, you
dont understand the business in order to buy it
properly. So thats what Ive been doing my
training. So you dont understand it, so now you
dont know what you dont know. So on top of
that, my thing was when I started in this
industry. I never intended to go into it as an
agency. I never looked at it that way. I only
started it because I had to, because people kept
asking me to help them out. And then when you
know, people start asking. You start to have to
make things a little more
official because then it just becomes all
unorganized and it just gets messy. So I started
it for that reason only. And my philosophy is
that by the time the people who are really good
at SEO learned it, why would the go and start
an agency and just set up a whole bunch of
websites online and just do it themselves? So all
of the good people dont want to be bound by
having to start an agency and go out and search
for clients. When they can just make their money
online and make a whole lot more of it and not be
bound to those rules. That was just my philosophy
on it. Yusuf Interesting. Because of this
situation, you probably know that I started a
local meet up 2 years ago. And the purpose of the
meet up was, since I noticed that specifically
the small businesses have all the majority that I
explain with dont have a clue. What is digital
marketing in general? Or what is online
marketing? So I started this meet up locally
because the majority of the small businesses that
I experience with. Most of them dont know or
dont understand what does digital marketing
means, or online marketing. I had noticed that in
Austin, Texas, they have tons of amazing meet
ups, lot of networking, tons of start ups and big
companies. But in San Antonio, which is more like
a blue-collar city and its actually growing
right now. We have so many tech industries that
are coming in and few start up are getting off
the ground. So I decided to first, look for any
meet up that talks about online marketing and
there was one person who is a teacher of SEO, but
he left and there was nobody else. So I started
this San Antonio Online Marketing group for the
hope to get all the online marketing in San
Antonio to get together and learn
from each other and help everyone else.
So eventually, this meet up ended up being a
place where now I provide 6 to 8 classes every
month. And this one seminar per month, where I do
my best, in most cases to explain everything to
the small businesses you know, what is digital
marketing? What is SEO, or social media, or
Facebook, or YouTube. And sometimes, I bring
guest speakers who are in the same industry that
can give back to the community you know, pay it
forward, and educate them and help them. Because
this way, now they can make a proper decision who
are they going to hire, or what kind of right
questions they are going to ask and then they
arent going to hire anybody. So its been
really amazing experience and I love just giving
it back. And I can see how some of these small
businesses that you know, some of them turn into
my customers, and some of them go and hire
somebody else that do an excellent job on the
business. So this made me like, You know what? I
guess this is the way that I can change. If I can
look at all that negativity of what all these
other agencies are screwing some customers. You
know I can complain about it but thats not going
to do anything. So its best to go out and focus
on providing that value, and I believe that can
definitely change. Victoria Yeah, exactly. Its
something you have to do. And I know your meetup
is a very large meet up, and you have a really
large following. But you always give so much
quality information, and even at our last event.
And everyone was listening to you, and Im
looking around the room and people were just
scribbling because they were trying to get all of
the stuff you were talking about because you talk
pretty fast because we had a short time frame.
And you packed so much into it, and they were
scribbling and looking, and
scribbling and looking, and I said, I think this
is going pretty well.
Yusuf Right. You see what happened. I used to
attend these so-called seminars and whatnot. And
one of the frustrations I always used to get,
that most of them dont teach, even I would say
50 of the basic. They teach very, very simple
stuff. Then at the end of course, they always
want to sell something, okay? So I was just
frustrated because you know, you drive, you want
to go learn something at least one nugget. But it
turns out something like, its not even worth it.
So I decided again, the concept of Dont
complain, just do something about it. So then I
started to, You know what? If Im going to share
something, I will share everything. And I dont
care what people think. I will share everything,
because I know for a fact, most businesses dont
have the time to do everything. Victoria If you
are doing it correctly, yeah. Yusuf Youre
correct, because you are taking your experience
over all these years and putting them on the
table. So when somebody come and say, Yes, I can
do it. You know, be my guest. But the reason I
do this, to explain to them, Look, this process,
you can see it, the solution is here. It might be
simple but it takes a lot of work. And you are a
business owner. You should focus on your
business. But if you want to take it by yourself,
theres nothing wrong with that, in fact, one of
my friends and client from California, on the
landscapingandconstruction.com, Mr. Joe Johnson.
I mean, he is amazing, he learned all the online
marketing, all the SEO, the social, and hes very
good. So, people like him are, like not too
many. Victoria Yeah, yeah. And it does take a
lot of time. Like I told them, I said, You know,
you have to either spend time or money. But the
problem is, when you spend the money, you have to
make sure you spend it at the right place.
And Ive seen some who tried to bring it in
house. And I dont know about your
experience, but those Ive seen go kind of sour a
little bit too, because they hire inexperienced
people. Yusuf Yeah, I can definitely remember
that. Because what I realized, when I was doing
SEO myself, theres no way whether it was an SEO
or any kind of business. And this is one of the
things that other company, any start up, or any
freelancer that wants to start their agency that
it is impossible for you to take more than one
customer in one month. Its not going to work. So
I tried to follow the rules of the 20-80, right?
Do 20 of the work, produce 80 of the result, so
how to sacrifice your things? So the first
thing, I had to sacrifice my prices. That means
if I make 3,000 on web project by myself, I had
to take half of that and send the other half or
even 2,000 of those to somebody else because I
dont want to spend too much time with it, a
couple of friends that are into the same web
development niche. And for some reason they cant
get out of that circle of mindset. Its like some
sort of ego, right? They told me, No man. This
is my design. Thats how I want to do it. Nobody
else can do it. Im like, Well then you know
what? Youll end up being an employee to your
business. So I decided from day one, I had to
think of different ways to run the business and
not be an employee of the business. So, I
remember back long, long time ago, when I was
learning Dreamweaver and Firework and all those,
from other verification like Microsoft, and IT,
and whatnot. I realized, telling myself, Man,
all these expensive certifications. And there was
an issue of expensive and they change every few
months. And Ill end up just paying for them and
just learn them. So I decided, You know what? If
I ever start a business, I got to start hire
somebody smart and let them do the work. So
thats what
happened. So, to do everything myself was not
easy. So I have to look for you
know, outsourcing somebody local or overseas. So
locally of course, the price is a little bit
high, which means if I get a client, I have to
match up the price, when I start to look for
overseas, and thanks to Bro. Ali for helping me
and coaching me on that. We hired several people
through Elance. Anybody from you know, India,
Bangladesh, or Middle East, or Africa, or even
South America, my experience is specifically with
hiring folks from India. I have nothing against
them, but it was extremely horrible,
okay? Victoria Yeah, yeah. I was waiting for
that one to come out. Yusuf I dont want to say
this, but it was like extremely horrible because
theyre too laid back, they dont understand
customer service. And believe it or not, only
last year, I hired one company from India. I had
to like, Go back to help this company online
marketing. Because I saw that they were doing
some projects for like Lexus, I have their
company call me. So I said, You know what? Im
going to give it a try. Then I have a couple of
companies from Philippines and from UK, and you
know, of course Russia, and South America. What I
decided to, instead of just having a individual
freelancer, Id rather focus with agencies.
Because just like any web agency or online
marketing agency here in the States, its the
same thing overseas. They want to make sure that
they provide the best service and they always get
customers, and they have a system in place. So
thats what I ended up having, is to hire and
work with those agencies. Victoria But you know
how to do that, because you know what theyre
supposed to be delivering. And thats where the
education part comes in. Because if you try to go
out and do that, cause we all get these emails
from agencies offering us SEO for 99 a month and
well do this, and well do that,
and from India or God knows where theyre from,
and they target agencies.
But for the one who has no experience and dont
know what theyre doing, or they just want to
sell the service, like a lot of them do, theyll
hire one of these guys and have a huge mark up on
it, but they dont do anything. Yusuf Youre
absolutely correct. I mean it was very difficult.
Honestly, it was very difficult to find a good
agency. I did that for a couple of years, I would
say like 2 or 3 years to find a good one. It was
very hard. Cause every time I hire one, they end
up doing stuff that is either outdated, or they
do some shady stuff where they hire also to
somebody else. It was very chaotic. So I ended
up, thanks to you because you did recommend me
one. But I did some research and found out they
were great. And I have one, like I said one
another big company from Philippines and one from
India. Now, I also have agencies here in the
States. But of course, those agencies from the
States are of course, pricy. So if I get a big
client, Ill see if I can get along with them
first. And if the budget doesnt match, then I
will switch to the overseas. So I decided to put
a system in place where I have access to
everything. So instead of competing, now I
collaborate. So collaborate with other agencies
and start helping each other. So amazing that
when youre so consistent, and work very hard,
always come with a solution, youre going to find
it. So right now, you can technically say I have
an agency, because I have everything. I mean from
graphic designers to account managers, or web
developers, SEO, social, mobile apps,
everything. Victoria Yeah. And it takes a long
time to really pull that team together. I mean,
we build our teams different ways but it took a
long time to build these teams and to build these
relationships, and if I cant help someone,
cause we just have different niches, and we have
differentiation aspects. And if theres
something that I know that I think you know,
Yusuf would be the best one to
handle this, and Ill shoot it over. No big deal.
Because as long as Im getting them to someone
that I know is good, and I know is going to take
care of them, then Im ok. Ive done my
job. Yusuf You know, its amazing how I give
several classes on outsourcing to small
businesses, telling them exactly what thing do to
avoid the mistake that I made. And right now, if
you have any project that you want to start, it
will take me only like 10 minutes to hire
somebody because of the experience that Ive been
through. For me its very easy how to find the
right person and how to hire them. And even
though I did several classes locally, and theyre
still having an issue and I told them, Well, you
got to be consistent in the right person to help
you out. And funny, because I showed them
everything. Like I told them how to look, where
to look, and how to engage with them, especially
dont treat them like a staff. Dont call them
staff. Treat them like a team. Consider theyre a
part of your team and be so good to them, like
you know, pay them very well. And this is another
thing I dont like about some of these so-called
online marketers. Well, they always say you go
ask somebody cheaper. Cheaper doesnt mean always
good. Does that make sense? Victoria And a lot
of times it doesnt mean good. Thats the problem
with that. You get what you pay for, thats what
I tell them. You get what you pay for. If you get
somebody at 3-4 an hour, then expect 3-4 an
hour of work. Yusuf Absolutely! There are
exceptions to the case, yes, there are few folks
that yes, the might do it for 4 or 5, because
they still dont realize their potential. So what
I do, I make sure that all my team gets paid very
well. Like you know, 15, 18, 45 and up. Why?
Because I want to make sure that they live
nicely, whatever theyre living at, and feed
their family without having a
second thought. If you take care of them, they
will take care of you.
Victoria Yeah, yeah. Actually when I hired my
first, well hes my lead designer right now. And
his skills over the past hes been with me for so
long, and calls me mom. But I recognized his
talent very early on. And again, I was hiring him
for me. And my agency was mainly very new, but I
was hiring him for stuff. But I wanted someone
that can specifically do one particular thing
that was a very unique skill. And I had so many
people applying. And I said you know, I wanted to
see their portfolios and I could tell, I wanted
someone who, could customize the Thesis theme at
that time. And they would send me sites that
werent you know, there was no Thesis to begin
with, waste my time, or they would send me sites
that were in Thesis, that were quoted with Thesis
but they didnt design them. Yusuf
Interesting, Victoria So they had put in their
portfolio other peoples sites. But I know this.
I knew it, but someone else wouldnt have known.
And I knew who designed some of those sites,
because Im in the forums, Im on the sites, Im
on the blogs, Im in the forums, sometimes Im
communicating with these people. And Im like,
you realize these people here, they just listed
all of these sites and theyre not sites that
theyve done, they just wanted the job. Yusuf
Yeah, and its crazy and you have to be very
careful. Theres so many strategies like when you
hire somebody for instance, if you post a job for
you know, lets say for mobile app or whatnot,
you have to mention to the post that, Do not
reply to me until you answer the 3 questions on
this post. And you put 3 questions in the middle
and if they reply to you with the answer, then
you would know that they actually read the whole
Victoria Exactly. And most of them, 75 of them
Yusuf Dont even read, yeah. Victoria Its so
funny. They all say they read the post. Yusuf
Right. Thats why theres a way to get the right
person. Theres so many different ways to get the
right one. And this is an advice that I really
tell, not just at any freelancer, even here
locally when I coach locally and I tell them,
Look, if you want to start this in this kind of
niche, eventually you have to outsource. You have
to delegate. Otherwise, you cant run the
business. And right now people ask me, how come
I give all these classes, how come I can do
everything? And I tell them because you know, my
business is running by itself. I dont have to
worry about it. Does that make sense? Victoria
You have to have a team. You have to have a team
cause its a lot of work. I tell myself this, I
can tell you what to do but you either have to do
this, or run your business. You cant do both.
You cant do both and really, really maximize.
And Ive had some that actually would, and I know
this is a totally different interview, but this
is something I feel is so important, because
everyone especially if they start out are going
to get to this topic. But I had one, several who
got so frustrated with a scam artist or whatever,
and the con artist and they would bring it in
house. But then, they will bring it in house, and
some of the ones that I knew, they would bring
people that they dont know themselves. So they
would like, Yeah, I had a few people( Just
because they know me personally) who were like,
Yeah, I just got hired as an SEO person. Im
going to be calling you for advice. And Im
like, No, you wont. Why do you take a job if
you dont know how to do it? And think youre
going to spend my time for me teaching you how to
do it, while theyre
paying? No! Thats not going to happen. And Ive
had 2 or 3 that have done
that. Im not broadcasting myself. These are just
people who happen to know me and happen to take
jobs. Imagine how many people are in this
position. Theyre hiring people that dont know
how to do the job theyve hired them for, because
they dont know how to hire somebody who knows
how to do the job. Its a catch 22 because
theyre hiring people in house to try to protect
their business and it still doesnt really
protect them and yet it keeps you from getting
conned because you still got someone who doesnt
know what theyre doing. Yusuf You know what?
You just give me an idea. Im going to have to
write an eBook on how to help agencies to find
the right team. Victoria Thats what Ive been
doing. And weve talked about this. I just
finished an eBook, but Im still doing, you know
we talked about doing a video training just to
get it out there to as many people as possible.
And you know, from then on they can decide, at
least they know how to hire someone. And I have
it right here. Its ready to go. Yusuf This is
amazing. Yeah, absolutely correct. Due to the
meet up that I was giving locally, thats how I
get approached by other agencies. Because they
attend the class several times, they see what Im
teaching. They can see the proof. They can see
the work. And I think this is going to definitely
help. Victoria Yeah, yeah, it will. Hopefully,
my whole thing was hopefully it will at least put
some standards in our industry. Yusuf I dont
know about some standards. I mean, thats a very
excellent point.
Victoria Some standards in our industry and at
least empower the business owners to where if
theyre empowered to do it, then they dont have
to worry about being taken advantage of. And then
hopefully we can eventually weed out the ones and
bring in good agencies. Cause I know several
good ones. And its just that were not willing
to lie and mislead. And we dont sound quite as
sexy to them when were telling the truth. And my
other thing was I said, This is what is going to
happen. And every single one has come back. But
now theyve come back after theyve wasted a year
or two. And one said, What should I do? I said,
You need to start listening to me. I know it
sounds good, I know it sounds like a pipe dream,
and thats what theyre good at. Theyre good at
telling you what you want to hear. The good ones
are not going to do that. Theyre not going to
lie to get your business, cause they already
know. They have some integrity there. But its
just not going to sound the same. Yusuf Yeah,
absolutely. And one of the things that, lets say
this is maybe an advice to the listeners. Like if
you want to find out which company that knows
online marketing, you have to ask. First you have
to know basics, you so have to know it. Because
if you dont know how can you select, which is
the good one or not. So any company that comes
and tells you for instance, and to see if they
have some sort of red flag, if they tell you, We
are going to rank you on the first page of Google
organically within 24 hours. Thats a red
flag. Victoria Or if they tell you that
period. Yusuf Yeah, to go to run. You got to
run with your horse, Im going to run with my
camel, but you got to run. So thats the first
thing. Secondly, if they always talk about
ranking only, thats not a good sign. Because
search engine
optimization is not just about ranking, but its
more about user experience, its
more about conversions, if they talk about
conversions. Sometimes, your website could be in
the second page, on the third page, and guess
what? You might still get leads. You might still
get phone calls. So you have to focus on those
kind of information. And you can ask them what is
a Black Hat SEO, what is a Gray Hat, and what is
a White Hat, or what kind of website do you
follow to learn? Specifically myself, I love
moz.com, M-O-Z.com. Thats one of my favorites.
Then you also have searchengineland.com,
searchenginejournal.com, searchengineroundtable.co
m, and I believe SEO books. These are the one
that you can actually trust when it come to this
you know, like specifically SEO or the online
marketing general. Victoria Yeah, absolutely. I
think we got to do another call. I brought you
on for that, we got to do another one. Where we
just sit out and do a QA. Im going to set that
up probably in the next couple of weeks, we just
do a QA and just really let people just come in
and online. Yusuf That would be
awesome. Victoria Yeah, so that was one I was
putting together just this week. And really just
letting people get it out there. Cause it just
really, wow, wow. Yusuf You know what? Even if
the idea of online marketing, digital marketing
and right now you have mobile SEO and whatnot,
its actually not that difficult. But like you
said, it is just time consuming. It is very time
consuming and its so important for you see the
result. But if you start any business, this sort
of information should not scare you, but you have
to be open to learn. You have to understand how
these type of strategies can actually help you
because technically, if you do everything by
yourself, initially, you dont have
to spend tons of money if you dont have it.
Now, Im not saying this to make you think you
know, like the cheap mentality, I dont like
doing to tell people you know, be always, all the
time cheap. No, you have to invest in the
business. And if you have sort of budget in
your place, you can use some of those money and
invest it back. If you dont, do your best to
learn, and whatever you learn, apply it. And the
reason Im saying this is because online
marketing actually changes very fast. I mean,
look at social media, it changes very fast. And
SEO, its with this all these new algorithms. So
dont try to be too cheap. I mean do your best,
do you understand? And dont confuse
bootstrapping with being cheap. Bootstrapping
basically means, if you can find ways if you can
do it by yourself or within your budget, you will
do it. So spend wisely and be very smart. One of
my favorite quote that I just read a few days
ago, by Kate Buck Junior, she is one of the
social media experts. Shes from Austin, Texas.
She built different programs, teaching new
businesses. Like lets say if you want to get
into social media business, she has a course that
teaches how to start. And one of the statements
that I love, she said, If you cant afford to
invest in marketing your business, then you do
not actually have a business. You have a side
project, a hobby, a hope and prayer that you make
it this month. Which is true, sometimes you have
to invest in business even for a few money, you
have to get into the mood. You know what? In
order for me to succeed, I have to invest. I
cant be free all the time. Victoria Yeah,
especially in this industry, when they dont know
what this stuff cost or entails, you dont have a
frame or reference. Because my personal favorite
is the hosting companies that have their SEO. And
it just kills me because this is not SEO. Or its
content marketing anyway. But everyone
is like, Oh, SEO. So when they see this, This
is only 50 a month. And they
dont know what that garbage is. Theyre thinking
they got an SEO and its like, No, you got
something that theyre calling SEO, that youre
paying them 50 a month for nothing, pretty
much. But if you dont know that upfront, you
cant make that decision. Yusuf Youre
absolutely correct. Because the only time you can
pay SEO service for like 500 a month, really is
if its from overseas. Because for them, that 500
is a lot of money. But if you know the actually
work that involves in the SEO, its a lot of
work. So its impossible to give them 50 bucks.
That is like, Im going to build a car for a
dollar. Victoria Thats a good analogy, Im
going to build a car for a dollar. Yusuf Yeah,
because when people tell me that this is 50 or
90 bucks a month, or some of them right now I
noticed, some of them come and say, You know
what? I will rank you on the first page and you
dont have to pay anything until its
ranked. How do they do that? I mean, unless you
have numbers, you have enough money, then yes,
maybe he can do it. But other than that, I
sometimes question it because the reality, if you
just go to Google and type SEO pricelist MOZ
Im going to do a quick search here. If you go to
Google and do a search for Prices MOZ, you just
out the word moz. And Moz wrote a blog post on
this topic, its called SEO pricing 600
agencies, share cost of services. And the
research done like in 2012 and explains the
prices that SEO consultant and SEO experts
charge, anywhere between 75 to 120 an hour. And
they talk about from different projects, I mean.
So if you understand the
reality of the work, it is impossible to do SEO
for like 50 bucks or a couple of hundred. So they
need to realize that. Victoria Yeah, thats an
excellent point in giving them that. And right
now, especially least the way I do things, you
need to include social media and other things.
And you made an exact point that I took. You
dont have to rank now to get traffic and to get
business from the search engines. You dont have
to rank on the first page. But thats the
mindset, thats how theyve been taught and
pushed over years. Their mindset is all on
rankings. I would ask some of the clients, they
said, Yeah. to this guy because they wouldnt
go with me. And they would say at first, they
said, He said hes going to rank me at the top
of their search engines for my keywords. And I
said, What keywords are those? He said, I
dont know. I said, So youre going to pay for
something you dont know what the keywords are?
And so I would explain to them, I said, Look, he
didnt even tell you. First of all, he promised
you something that he cant deliver. And thats a
red flag. Second of all, if he promised to rank
you at the top of the search engines for your
keywords, then theyre going to be keywords that
nobodys going to be searching for anyway.
Cause they dont know that theres traffic and
search volume and all of this stuff. So theyre
like, Well, he got me to the top of the search
engine. For which keyword? Yeah, this is the
only time that its cut off, but. Yusuf I think
Skype just couldnt handle our call. Its too
much information. Victoria Yeah, I think we got
people listening in over here. But, so I gave
one, and I know you got to go. I gave one five
keywords, and he came back,
hes like, I met some guy at my chamber of
commerce meeting, hes going to get me 10
keywords. So I said, Send me those keywords. I
kid you not, 6 out of the 10 keywords had no
search volume. And out of those 6, some of them
had no search volume, and some of them, they were
totally irrelevant to his business, and they were
just ridiculous. And I said, Have you even
looked at these keywords? Some of them had
nothing to do. And so I showed him, I said, One
of my keywords, just one of my keywords, was more
than three times all three of his ten, in search
volume. I still had the other four. And thats
why it was an eye opener for him. Thanking like,
Wow! He gave you ten, I gave you five. But my
search volume was more than, its probably four
times his total, out of his ten. It was
ridiculous. Yusuf This is amazing because they
dont realize that with all the changes in
algorithm, right now, actually, I dont want to
say Google dont look at the keyword. They do,
but they focus more in usability and also
content. Like how many content youre writing and
are those content are dead, out there like really
valuable, are people sharing it. So things are
changing, but like you said, I still see some
folks that talks about these something you know,
outdated stuff and whatnot. Victoria They dont
know and they know that this is what the customer
is looking for, because the customers or the
clients dont know. So, theyre like, All they
care about is getting ranking, thats what Ill
sell them on. Because they dont care and its
an industry thats changing so quickly and so
fast. This was years ago, when that that
particular thing happened. But over the course of
years, theres just been so many of these
situations that I get a headache
just thinking about it.
Yusuf Yeah. And I tell a lot of businesses that
really, when you look at digital marketing, I
mean right now, SEO is just one part of the
online marketing. Which means you cant just only
focus on that. It is essential, so you have
to focus on lets say, social media is part of
it. When I say content marketing, basically Im
talking about blog, podcast like this show,
YouTube, Infographics. So things are really
spreading out there, right? And officially this
year, April 21st, this is the year where Google
basically said that everyone has to be a
responsive based design or mobile friendly. And
if its not, Google might not show that website
on the mobile devices if its not mobile
friendly. So thats why businesses really have to
be following up with all the changes, because
their biggest competitors are big companies are
able to spend tons of money to make sure that
they are digitally visible. Victoria Yeah. And
you need someone to keep you up on that. Thats
the other side of only doing the work, staying up
to date and keeping up. Its wow, its a lot to
just stay, keep yourself educated and keep
yourself on top of the change. Its a
responsibility on us, if were not compliant,
then our clients are non-compliant. They hire us
to protect them and make sure theyre
okay. Yusuf Right, and for that reason, its in
the process that Im planning to start a monthly
membership. Where agencies businesses can you
know, its going to be very affordable so they
can log in. And it will consist of everything,
from online marketing strategies, SEO, social
media, crowdfunding even, everything. So they
can just kind of Google it or log in and learn.
And Ill also create a, probably community for
the members so in case they have a question, they
can just drop their question and Ill help them.
Because I think this is the problem, and the
solution is to provide this information. Even
though these
information are available for free, you can find
them in Linda or Udemy or any other website. What
makes me different is Im going to simplify
them. Im going to do my best to simplify
because a lot of those courses. And sometimes, a
tech person or a knowledgeable person, they might
be good at what they do best, but when it comes
to like teaching and trying to take that message,
its a little bit challenging. And having all
these classes that Ive been doing locally to
small businesses, now I understand how I can
explain to them, and how I can simplify it in the
hope for them to understand it better. Victoria
Excellent. And for everyone listening, Ive been
after him for so long to do this. But hes busy,
hes a busy guy. You know, hes in high demand,
hes a busy guy, and I said, Look, can you get
this up? So we can actually educate and make sure
that the business owners, at least they know.
Some of them are higher agencies anyway, but they
know. Some of them are going to have to bootstrap
and do it on their own. So yes, yes, yes, and now
youve heard it directly from him. So we have him
on the hook to actually get it done. Yusuf
Right. And heres another tip, and its really
sad. Im going to give you this simple tip. And I
dont know why people dont follow it, but I
appreciate and I hope that listeners will do
this. When you do online marketing, there are
like hundred ways on doing things. If you want to
build traffic, there are also a hundred way of
doing things. So what you do, it is better for
you to do something little, than not doing
anything at all, right? So that being said, the
best thing to do right now is at least blog once
a week. If you can just blog weekly, update the
content or be active in the social like lets
say, one post a day, and youre consistent,
eventually you will see some result. Thats it.
Thats all I ask for you guys, okay? Then just do
that and
make sure Google analytics installed to your
website and the Google
webmaster tool, then you will see whats
happening. And when you have enough lets say, if
you generate some income through selling your
service online, or selling product, then make
sure you put like 10-15 of that income invested
back in marketing. So look in to Facebook
advertising, which is becoming very popular
because its very affordable, and it brings good
result. Or you can try Bing, or Google, or MSN
ads to get more conversion to your
site. Victoria Yes, absolutely, absolutely. And
look, weve already been here an hour, and this
topic could go on. Im sure we going to have to
do an encore one day, cause we didnt even get
into the whole journey, but I did it purposely
because this is such an important topic. And
especially were talking to people now who going
to want to, therere entrepreneurs or
wantapreneurs and they want to start, this is a
topic youre going to have to face eventually,
and getting in this business, you going to have
to market it. So this one, Ive decided to, well
lets just talk about this and all of the
craziness that goes on in our lovely industry.
But were definitely, I think were going to have
to have an encore and well be in touch
especially to get more, to get those calls out
and everything. Im excited about it. And again,
how can people find you? Yusuf You can Google
my name, Yusuf Chowdhury, okay? Thats C-H-O-W-
D-H-U-R-Y, and first name Yusuf, Y-U-S-U-F, of
course. My own website just started this year,
yusufchowdhury.com. You can connect with me on
Facebook, Twitter, any social media site. Just
when you connect with me tell me why youre
connecting with me because I dont just accept
anybody. What do I mean by that. Dont give me a
call because I dont know you. Tell me, You know
what? I listened to you in this podcast with
Victoria, or I saw your
blog on somewhere else. That way, I will
definitely connect with you and Id
love to help. What I mean by that, Ill do
everything what I can to answer your question and
guide you, okay? So please connect with
me. Victoria Absolutely, and you wont be
sorry. And your Yusufied series its on your
LinkedIn. And you know, this is the guy. You
know, if youve got questions, Yusuf is
definitely the one to, hes to go to. Hes the
OG. Yusuf Right. And I think all the listeners
today, youve all been Yusufied approved. So,
there you go. Victoria Everyones been
Yusufied. Ive been Yusufied. Youve been
Yusufied. Yusuf One of the business coach asked
me, How can I get Georgefied? Since youre
Yusufied. How can that happen? I just told them,
Go to my place and I will coach you too. I
better start my own line of certification, you
know, Yusufied in different levels and
Yusufication of certification. Victoria You do
that, in your membership. Yusuf
Right. Victoria Yeah! Its got to happen in the
membership. When they get to this level, then
theyll be Yusufied, Yusufied Silver, and then
Gold, and then Platinum. Yusuf Wow, now youve
given me another idea. Thats awesome. Victoria
Yes. Yes, thats awesome. Lets do that. Yusuf
Actually, there were couple of businesses when I
refer, I do tell them,
You need to contact this moving company or this
graphic designer, by the
way, theyre Yususfied. So when they call the
company, Hi, Yusuf told me that youre
Yusufied. So Im building my own brand here
locally. Victoria Yeah, thats awesome. Were
going to make sure that everyone here is
Yusufied, or everyone here is at least can find
people who are Yusufied. This has been too much
fun. I know I kept you a little long. You got to
go. But thank you so much for being on. If we
have to do another one We did change the format a
little bit. We didnt get as much into your story
or in your journey, but hey we can always catch
that on another one. I just really wanted to. I
thought this was such an important topic. And to
have you come on and talk about it, we can go on
forever. So lets do it again. But for now, thank
you so much for coming on and sharing all of your
wisdom. And lets see how we can do it
again. Yusuf Thank you, Victoria so much. I
really enjoyed it. And Im so excited to look
forward for the next episode. Victoria Okay,
everyone have a good day. If youve listened to
this, write in our site, its o2epodcast.com.
Thats O as an orange, and 2 is the number, and E
as an elephant .com. And just Google Y-U-S-U-F or
SEO and this podcast will come right up. And
well go from there. Thank you. Have a good
day. Yusuf Bye everyone!
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