The role of SEO in your marketing strategy with Kate Toon – Ep 61 – The Elevatory
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The role of SEO in your marketing strategy with Kate Toon – Ep 61 – The Elevatory

Flori Pyke [00:01:23] Hello and welcome to
Episode 61. OK. So, a huge warm welcome to all of our listeners
today. You have got Flori with you today. And, today I get to talk with none other than
the, I was going to say lovely but I feel like extraordinary is a better word, Kate
Toon. Holy moly. Hello, Kate. Kate Toon [00:01:41] Hello. I like lovely. I thought lovely was nicer but there we go. I’m happy to be extraordinary. I don’t feel particularly extraordinary today
but I will do my best. Flori Pyke [00:01:49] Oh you’re always extraordinary. I remember seeing you, what was it? I think it’s a Mothers Den event. It’s the first time I saw you present. And you were very memorable because you were
very funny and on top of all the other incredible insights that you had to deliver. But extraordinary I think is a wonderfully
descriptive word of you, Kate. Kate Toon [00:02:10] Well, I’ll take it. Thank you very much. That’s lovely. Flori Pyke [00:02:13] And on that note I have
to say, you’re a bit of a big deal. Like I.. [Kate says “Oh gosh, stop it.”] I know. For real. I was going through your bio and there’s a
bit of a lengthy list of accolades there, Kate. Kate Toon [00:02:28] Yeah. Well I wrote it though, you see. So, you know I can put whatever I want. No, it’s funny. I rewrote it recently for an event. And you know obviously it does get longer
as time goes on and you stop mentioning the fact that you won an award for cross country
when you were 14. [Flori laughs] And you move on and put better
things on. But yeah. I think I’m not sure whether I’m at all
a big deal. It’s funny. It’s a question I raised in a group the other
day; how do you know if you’re a big deal? But I just think I’ve been doing it for a
long time and over a sheer volume of years means I’ve done a fair amount of stuff in
that long, long time. So, yeah. Flori Pyke [00:03:04] Yeah. But I mean perseverance and getting really
good at doing stuff is also… Kate Toon [00:03:10] It’s a skill. [Flori says “That’s what I’m saying you know.”] Yeah. Sticking around when the time gets tough. It’s what it’s all about. Flori Pyke [00:03:17] That’s exactly right. Because you know what, when the going does
get tough. And how many times are you like… Because I can say definitely there are those
moments where it’s like oh far out, just be a lot easier to just throw the towel in. Kate Toon [00:03:31] And just get a job. But I don’t think anyone would employ me now. So, I got to the point where that was no longer
an option. I realised it’s OK I can always get a job
and now I’m not sure anyone would want me. So, I have to keep going. Flori Pyke [00:03:43] I highly doubt that. But anyway, we’ll move on from that… [both
laugh] So, look. You’re an award-winning SEO copywriter. You’re an SEO consultant and on that note
of experience, I have read here that you have got over two decades of experience in all
things advertising, digital and writing. And you’ve written books. You’ve written courses. You’ve got a podcast. Kate Toon [00:04:06] Got three, got three
podcasts. I know nutter. I don’t even. And you know, believe me, it is a big struggle
and sometimes some plates don’t get spun. I’m a little bit behind with my podcasts but
I’m not a big believer in consistency you see. It’s a big, it’s real help when you just throw
consistency out the window. I turn up but not consistently for the same
things. And that’s the key to my success. If I can’t do a thing for a little bit I take
the attitude of no one’s going to die if I don’t release a podcast this week [Flori agrees]
so I’m going to take the pressure off and do something else that’s more important, that’s
going to earn me money or that needs doing. Then I’ll come back to the podcast and people
will wait and most people won’t even notice. So, I take the pressure out. Flori Pyke [00:04:47] I think that’s a very
wise approach. And actually one thing that I wanted to talk
to you about, so as some of our listeners might know I talk about I feel like my approach
for this year having had, well he’s now older, he’s 10 months, but had a baby at the start
of the year is very much about the 80-20 rule because it was like right, I really don’t
have time and I’ve got to make sure that I am spending my time really wisely. And like you said, if you don’t record that
podcast like no one’s going to die but I have to focus on that 20 percent that’s going to
get you know bring in the money, bring in the revenue. So, I have a question for you on that note. Because I mean going through this lengthy
list of accolades and I didn’t even mention half the stuff she does by the way because
she’s also, do you have like a conference you run? I mean… [Kate agrees] I mean really Kate Toon [00:05:34] Copywriting conference. Yeah. That is a big… I will agree with you. That is a big deal. That’s a lot of work. So yeah. Flori Pyke [00:05:40] Yeah. Like I mean [Kate laughs] planning my kid’s
birthday party just gives me like heart palpitations, let alone a copywriting conference. Like yeah, I can’t even.[Kate laughs] So,
can you just tell me like before we kind of dive into, because I want to pick your brains
today a lot around SEO copywriting and how this all works but I’m really interested to
know when you kind of sit down and look at your week ahead, what is your 20 percent focus,
like what is that thing? How do you kind of ensure that you’re doing
that 20 percent that’s going to build your business every week? Like what approach do you have? Do you have a rule of thumb? Do you have any like wisdom here for us? Kate Toon [00:06:19] Yeah, it’s changed but
definitely right now the 20 percent or maybe slightly more is always focused on people
who’ve given me money. So, people who’ve given me money I feel you
know obviously as you should obligated to deliver to them. So, I’ve got, I’ll have maybe 80 or so people
on my course at any given time. They are my top priority. They’ve spent a lot of money with me. I have three hundred and fifty people in my
membership. So, they are my next priority and then other
people who’ve bought incidental thing. I’ve got a shop. I’ve got templates. I’ve got mini courses. So, anybody you know then they’ll be served. You know, people who can’t download it or
can’t log in. So, it’s always about those people and making
sure that that’s working well. And then, the next lump is always about making
all that work better. So, like automation processes, cleaning stuff
up, fixing opt-ins and then the final sort of 20 percent is marketing. So, getting more people into all of that. But basically, I want to keep the people I’ve
got happy. And then, I want to make what they’ve got
better and then I want to sell more of it. So, does that make sense? Flori Pyke [00:07:18] OK. No, I’m such a big believer of and we did
a whole podcast episode around this. Like basically keeping your existing customers
happy and coming back for more because they’re the ones who are your advocates. They’re the ones who are gonna be most likely
to buy from you again. So I think that totally makes sense. Yeah. Kate Toon [00:07:38] Yeah. And advocacy is a huge part of, it probably
should be a part of my strategy but I’m not really a strategist. It’s just a part of my business because I
don’t do any paid advertising that really most of my business comes through people recommended
me through word of mouth. And a lot of those people are my customers. Again, volume helps. You know, I’ve had about 8,000 people pass
through various courses. That’s a lot of people [Flori agrees] to do
word of mouth. But at any one time like if I’m launching
something, I’ve got a little group of people who are very happy and that really helps me
get the message out without having to spend a lot of money. But I am spending money because I’m spending
it on them. But I’d rather spend it on them than on Facebook
ads. Does that make sense? Flori Pyke [00:08:16] Yes. No, it definitely does. And, actually on that note, when you talk
to us through kind of your hierarchy of importance of what you spend your time on to make sure
that you are spending your time on that 20 percent, you mentioned existing customers
and then marketing and you also just said I don’t spend money on marketing and that
you rely a lot on word of mouth. Can you talk to me further around, so other
than the word of mouth, because obviously you’ve grown a lot, your business and your
brand, so what other strategies are you relying on from a marketing standpoint? I’m very curious. Kate Toon [00:08:49] Well, we’re going to
talk about one of them in a minute I think which is SEO and I put the foundations down
for that a long time ago. I did the hard yards. I wrote the blog post. I did the optimisation and that’s the great
thing about SEO which we’ll talk about soon is that it is a bit of a learning curve and
is tough but it does last a lifetime. So, that’s still delivering for me traffic
coming to my site every single day, leads mostly to my copywriting business which I
don’t really do much copywriting anymore. But then I’ve diversified and I send those
leads off to other bits of my business. So, I convert them in different ways. Yeah. I mean it’s funny I’m doing a training today
on lead generation and I really had to sit down and think about BOFU, MOFU and TOFU and
FU. [Flori laughs] I do an awful lot of TOFU stuff. [Flori says “I won’t take it. I won’t take it personally.”] That’s all right [both laugh]. I am a vegetarian so I should like tofu. I don’t really. So, I do a lot of TOFU stuff. So top of the funnel stuff. You know I’ve got checklists. I’ve got a big Facebook group with about 7,000
people in it. Another one with about 3,000 in it. The podcast I would consider top of funnel. It’s all about awareness. I’ve got a YouTube channel and I don’t pump
stuff out on all these platforms every single day, but they are there and they’re growing
and if someone discovers the podcast you know if they like the first one, they go through
and listen to a lot of them. [Flori agrees] That builds a lot of you know
and eats a lot of expertise, authority, and trust. So, I do a lot of TOFU and then I do a little
bit of MOFU which is kind of more, I’ve got some free courses, I do webinars and trainings
and speaking at events. Probably TOFU-ey. And, last year I put it in hard. I think the last year was a bit of a tipping
point in terms of awareness in that I did 37 events. Flori Pyke [00:10:32] I saw that. That is admirable. [Kate says “it was mental”] I mean it
was like more than two a month. And, can I just ask like are you, across those
events, I remember reading this and I was like holy moly like were you presenting the
same content every time? No. Kate Toon [00:10:49] So, it was a mix. So, there was you know several conferences
which were big presentations, big groups of people. I ran a lot of my own workshops which was
really great. And then, I was presenting the same content
and that was good. And, so what I would do is every time I would
be booked to speak at a conference, I would run my own workshop because often when you’re
speaking at conferences when you’re not well known you’re not getting paid. Maybe you’ll get hotel or whatever. So to cover the cost I would run a workshop
which would make about five grand or something and that would cover my flight, my hotel and… Flori Pyke [00:11:19] Ah, just to make your
workload that much lighter as well. Kate Toon [00:11:22] Yeah. But it is half a day. It is stuff I know really, really well. So, you know I wasn’t going out of my comfort
zone and then maybe whilst I was also in that city, I’d do a couple of meet ups. So, it’s like these little blobs are doing
like five events in a row then I have a couple of weeks off, then five events in a row then
a couple of weeks off. And, it was intense but it’s good for so many
reasons. I got to test out my material. I broke my fear of speaking. I don’t get nervous now public speaking. You see how your material works. [Flori agrees]. You talk about jokes and stuff. So many of my jokes fall so flat. And, when you see people’s dead faces staring
back at you, you know you have to change your material. [Flori says “I find that really hard to believe.”] I think the thing for me is I speak very quickly
and I move on from the joke without giving everybody the time. [Flori says “Like you think it doesn’t sink
in for them.”] And probably still, I don’t know. [Flori laughs] And also, I’ve got an odd sense
of humour. But it was really, really good. I met a lot of people and that again as you
mentioned, a lot of the people were already my customers. It’s actually advocacy and you know I’m going
up to Brisbane at the end of the month and having a get together and it’s a free get
together because I just want to meet my people. That sounds really… That sounds like that is the most pretentious
thing I’ve said today. My people. But people who I like [Flori laughs and says
“Your tribe.”] And, people who have done my courses. My gang. It was more of a gang with like a little jacket
and flick knives. [Flori laughs] Yeah. It was interesting. That’s a lot. I wouldn’t do it again. I wouldn’t speak so much for free again but
it served its purpose for me, I think. Flori Pyke [00:12:50] And, did you feel that
off the back of that, you from a marketing standpoint in terms of welcoming you know
new customers and students into your courses and what not, did you feel that there was
a direct like surge and correlation in terms of seeing an increase in student base? Kate Toon [00:13:10] I’m not much of a one
for tracking anything which is terrible and I’m trying to get better at it. I’m kind of like good vibes man. People are coming. Yeah. I think you’ll know yourself when you launch
any kind of course or product. [Flori agrees] You first start selling it
to your inner social circle people already know I can trust you. Then it goes a bit wider, then it goes a bit
wider. Now there are people signing up to my course
which is you know it’s not cheap who I’ve never heard of. And they are a connection through connection
through a connection. And people say I saw you once five years ago
kind of thing or I saw you here. And, so yes, I mean it’s not for me. Events are hard to do a measurable conversion. [Flori agrees] It’s easy for my own conference. The thing for me this is my metric which is
an appalling metric. I tried to book someone to do some Facebook
ads for me. I thought I’m going to try Facebook ads. Everyone else seems to think they work and
they were like can you tell us your conversion rate and I was like nup and then can you tell
us how many people move from your free thing to your pay things then you know what’s your
shopping cart value? what’s your average, I don’t know. And they just couldn’t because they were like
well how we meant… I have no metrics. I said the thing that measures it for me is
whenever I log into Facebook I’ve been tagged in about 20 posts across 50 groups with any
mention of copywriting or SEO. Someone’s like oh you should get in touch
with Kate Toon. Get in touch with Kate Toon. And, sometimes it’ll be five or six people
in the same thread saying Kate Toon, Kate Toon. That for me is my measure of awareness and
whatever. It’s a bit more squeegee but it works for
me. So yeah. Flori Pyke [00:14:38] Yeah well, I mean that’s
pretty impressive in itself. Yeah definitely. All right. Awesome. Well, thank you for that. I love learning what other people are doing
on a marketing front and it’s pretty impressive how much you’ve grown really through I mean
SEO definitely and all these other things but a lot of it has been really organic like
thanks to you putting your blood sweat and tears into this. It sounds like and that kind of grassroots
approach is it’s not easy to get right and it takes a lot of work and you’ve obviously,
you’re doing this right. And I think it’s you. Yeah. Kate Toon [00:15:12] Thank you. I must just say I keep forgetting we’re on
video so if I’ve been putting strange faces. I’m like pulling my hair. [Flori says “Oh don’t worry I’m not even.”] I’m like I keep forgetting and put myself
like picking my nose or something in a minute so I apologise to anyone watching if I’m looking
peculiar. I’m just not used to video. Flori Pyke [00:15:28] Don’t worry. As I said to you my office isn’t… Like I’m on like scaffolding right now pretty
much because half of it is deconstructed [Kate says “No judgment people we are just doing
our best. Keeping it real.”] And I have like paint fumes going through
my head so who knows what I’ll come out with. Yeah exactly. Anyway, so look I wanted to chat today with
you about SEO because it’s something that we haven’t talked a lot about on the podcast. And for me personally I feel that I have a
really baseline understanding about how SEO works and I want to learn more. And, so I thought who better to bring on the
podcast than the extraordinary lovely Kate Toon. So, let’s just like start really simply if
you’re OK with that, for our listeners let’s just like what is SEO? Can you just kind of break this down for us
so that we’re all on the same page? Kate Toon [00:16:23] Yeah I mean I’m just
really hoping your listeners haven’t switched off at the very mention of SEO. Because I think literally it brings a lot
people out in a rash and makes the hair on the back of their neck stand up. Flori Pyke [00:16:33] See I’m kind of one
of those. [Kate agrees] So, I’m out of my comfort zone.
[laughs] Kate Toon [00:16:37] Let’s see if I can convert
you. So, you know if we throw the word SEO out
of the window, I mean it means search engine optimisation which is equally as unhelpful
as the acronym. If we think about it is making Google fall
in love with our website. That’s the way I like to do it. Think of it like an episode of The Bachelor. There’s one bachelor, he’s got 20 bachelorettes
to choose from or whatever they called and he’s got a long list of what he’s looking
for but he can’t tell them. He can’t tell them what he’s looking for. So, they kind of have to work out and guess. And you kind of see some women go by the wayside
and you start to go oh well maybe he doesn’t like blondes because he’s not keeping any
of the blondes around. Maybe that’s a rule. Maybe that’s a rule that we’re going to add
Google’s check list of what it wants and what it doesn’t. And that’s how it literally was. It sounds ridiculous. So, Google has about 200 or so things we think
on its list that it wants from us. Some of which explicitly tells us like hey
I want someone with a good sense of humour. Hey I want a site that loads quicker than
20 minutes. You know I’m going to hang around. So, some things it tells us other things you
have to work out and people like SEO consultants are literally trying to look for the signals
and signs. If I do this, this happens so I’m going to
guess that that’s what Google wants. But if I do this, this negative thing happens. So, I’m not going to do that again. So, search engine optimisation is about implementing
those 200 things knowing what they are working through them in a logical fashion and understanding
which was which ones of them are going to have a big impact and which ones are gonna
have a small impact you know dying you’ll have blonde big impact you know putting on
a different dress maybe smaller impact. It’s a silly analogy but it is that simple. It’s about a love list. You know making Google love you. That’s what it’s all about. Flori Pyke [00:18:20] I think it’s a great
analogy. [Kate laughs] So, to bring that analogy back
to kind of layman’s terms like the dress, the hair, like how do, what are we actually
doing at ground zero to get the right dress on, and to dye the hair blonde and to do those
things that Google wants because my understanding and this is where I don’t know much about
it but I mean I hear a lot of talk here. Jo, you know Jo? She’s taken your course. [Kate says “Jo did my course.”] So she’s our integrator over here and student
liaison. And, she does a lot of our SEO and she’s amazing. But you know it’s like she’s talking a different
language to me when we started talking SEO. So, she’s been telling me that it has a lot
to do with like your copywriting in your keywords. Right? So that’s [Kate agrees] like a dress and the
hair. Kate Toon [00:19:15] The best way I like to
break it down is this three core things, three core groups of things. The first one is technical stuff. So, how your site is built and where you’re
hosting it, how fast it is, how quick does it load. Does it look good on a mobile device? And, can Google physically get to all the
pages because sometimes there are blocks. There are things it can’t access. So that’s all tech stuff and that actually
is the foundation. If you don’t get that right, nothing else
will work. And so, when you’re doing this whole process
of going through the 200 things, that’s where you start. You start with those first. Once they’re all fixed up and then it’s very
black and white, you know either it works or it doesn’t. It’s fast or it’s slow. Then you can move on to the next things which
is a bit more ephemeral, a bit more difficult to work out. And that’s really understanding what your
audience is typing into Google. So, what key words and phrases and questions
are they typing in and then looking at those phrases and going, well, how many people are
typing that in and how difficult, what other sites are competing for it. So, you know if people were looking for you
know business coach for female entrepreneurs, you know yeah that’s a great phrase. It’s exactly what you do. And, thousands of people are typing in but
thousands of people thousands of websites that are much better and more established
than yours are competing for it. So, while you would love to go for that phrase
you can’t. You have to go for something a little bit
more obscure that still has some traffic but not as much competition. So that’s the keyword research portion. And that’s tied in with the copywriting. Because obviously once you’ve worked out what
words you’re going to go for then you kind of go well, hey you know we’ve found this
phrase. It’s pretty good. Where shall we use it? Shall we use it on our home page? Because that would be really good chance for
us to rank and then it’s about how you write your copy to make sure you use that word not
in a kind of I must use it 7 percent of the time kind of way. [Flori says “Yeah was gonna ask you.”] Yeah. That’s nonsense [Flori says “what you do with
that?”] It’s just logical. So, you kind of want to try and use it in
the title tag of your page which is the little blue underline link Google, in the meta description
which is the little two-line phrase underneath, in your URL, the web address if you can. And then, on the page you know. But only a couple of times like maybe in the
headline and in the body and maybe you’ve got an image you would call the business hyphen
coach hyphen female hyphen entrepreneur dot jpeg and that’s about it because then you
move into well someone who’s looking for a business coach for female entrepreneurs probably
is going to use other phrases as well. They probably gonna use like business you
know coach for women entrepreneurs. So, I don’t have to keep saying female. I can use the word women. Maybe they wouldn’t say entrepreneur. Maybe they’d say business owner. So, you start to come up with synonyms and
you don’t create a separate page for every single word you come up with. You basically think of it this way. You think as a user would I be happy with
this page if I was looking for this phrase and this phrase. So, if say someone’s looking for a video script
copywriter and someone else is looking for a copywriter who writes video script, would
they be happy with the same page? Yeah. So, we don’t need to create two separate pages
which is create one good page that has both those phrases on. So, it’s all about search intent, understanding
where your customer is at in the journey. Are they looking to buy right now? Awesome. They will tell you if they are because they’ll
use words like buy, affordable, price of, female business entrepreneur coach or are
they in comparison mode then they’ll use words like best, testimonial, review. “Who’s the best female entrepreneur coach?” And then if they’re not even in that stage,
if they’re still in awareness stage, they may not even use female business entrepreneur
coach because they don’t know that exists. Instead they’ll be asking questions like “How
do I start my business?” “What’s the best thing to do with my website?” They’ll be asking questions and then they’ll
realise that such a person exists and you’ll be moving them down that ladder. So, yeah there’s different keywords for different
phases in the journey and then you have to implement on to your site. So, I’m still going. I’ve actually done two so far. Are you still with me? [Flori says “I’m still. So, I’ve got the tech side, keyword research
and you said there are three things, keyword in copy. Yup.”] Keyword and copy. And the last one is backlinks. Backlinks is all about getting a link from
one website to another. So now I’m going to be on your podcast. It’s gonna be amazing. There’s probably a page on your website. It is amazing already. So amazing. There’ll be a bio and there’ll be a link from
your site to mine and Google go oh hey you know they’re pretty cool these girls at The
Elevatory. These women sorry I apologise. Their site’s pretty cool and they’ve linked
to Kate so I’m going to take a little bit of the SEO love that I’m giving to them and
I’m going to pass it on to Kate. And so, the more good quality relevant links
you can get from high authority good websites the better. It’s not about quantity. It’s about quality. [Flori agrees] So, you know a great link for
a really good website is going to boost your site because Google is gonna flow some SEO
juice and love into it and it’s going to help your chances of competing for that business
coach female entrepreneur. Because the more links you get. You’ll get as good as that site that was already
at the top and maybe be able to knock them off. So, tech, keywords and copy, and backlinks. Flori Pyke [00:24:34] OK. Love it. And, on that backlinks subject, I have a question. As part of your marketing, I mean do you actively
make it like a prerogative say that once a month or something you’re trying to I don’t
know like write a blog post or do a feature on a website with a lot of traffic that’s
quite established like does that thing constitute part of your marketing strategy? Kate Toon [00:24:58] In the early days yes,
it is. It’s definitely something I teach on the course. I give everyone a roadmap and say this is
what you should do every month. For every blog you post on your own site try
and post two on someone else’s. So, I think when you’re starting out, yes
it has to be a very conscious effort. You have to look for opportunities. You have to put your competitor’s websites
into tools and see where they’re getting backlinks from and make that your list. That’s what I did when I started. I look to other copywriters, made a big list
of all the sites that were linking to them and then went to each site and saw if I could
get a link. Sometimes I couldn’t. Sometimes I could but now I don’t do that
at all. And you know Google says you shouldn’t try
and build links. You should just try and earn links. What it means is it shouldn’t be a conscious
effort. You should just be so awesome and extraordinary
and lovely. That people just want to link to which sounds
like nonsense. But I guess it gets to the point where you
built up a bit momentum you have people to say “hey do you wanna be on my podcast”, “hey
do you want to give a tip. I’m writing an article about this would you
like to give a tip” and there’s enough of that for me to just keep it bubbling along. And the moment as I said I’m very inward focused
to my existing customers but if I ever get some time again then yes I would go out there
and think who would be a really great site I could guest blog for that are going to give
me the actual link because lots of these sites these days give you what’s called a no-follow
link. If the link is no-follow it means yes you
get the traffic in the eyeballs. You just don’t get that SEO love. Nothing flows through. So, sites like I used to write for Flying
Solo and in the old days they used to give follow links but now they’re no follow and
whilst I would still write for them because it’s a great platform with a huge audience
I wouldn’t be doing it for the backlink. I’d be doing it for brand awareness. So, and the best thing to do is you can get
brand awareness and the backlink. [Flori agrees] Yeah. So, it’s not a conscious effort for me now. And the problem for me is that a lot of my
students have now started to outrank me. [Flori says “Are you serious?”] Yeah. Because you know I’ll give it all away. I don’t like to keep some secret sort… [Flori says “Yeah yeah. No. I mean that’s wow.”] It’s good. But for me, I think its actually slightly
better proof for me because look I can do it here. I’ve done it. But now so that I not only can I do it but
the people I’ve taught have done it and I feel that that’s a better proof but there’s
still a bit of ego there that goes I want my top ranking back. So I might have to do a bit of backlink building. I call it more relationship marketing and
I guess this is something you guys advocate a lot as well like just being out in the world
doing things, talking to people, helping people. You build relationships and then links and
connections and opportunities just come up through that without you consciously going
I’m going to target this site and I’m going to get a link off them. It just happens organically. It has for me. It’s good karma marketing I like to think
of it. Flori Pyke [00:27:49] Yeah I love it. I think we should make that like a formal
term. Good karma marketing. Kate Toon [00:27:54] I actually have a course
called Good Karma SEO. So, there we go it already is. So, do it man. Flori Pyke [00:28:00] Problem solved. Now, you mentioned the Google algorithm and
it’s really interesting because I was, I can’t remember who it was, I was chatting to another
marketer and they were telling me how they felt that SEO had its importance and that
it played a really big factor in terms of their marketing strategy. Rewind kind of two three years ago but then
they said that they felt that today like the algorithm has gotten so smart at discerning
different SEO kind of tricks and tools and I know there are a little kind of sneaky things
you can do. But my understanding I mean he was saying
that even the non sneaky things, like that algorithm is getting so good that it’s becoming
more and more difficult to really do any kind of optimisation with your website other than
like definitely ticking the tech box and what not because that’s just also from a user experience
standpoint but I’d love to hear your view on that. Kate Toon [00:28:55] Yeah. I think it’s the wrong way round because,
yes the algorithm has changed. It’s been changing ever since it was launched,
changes all the time. But a site like mine have never been impacted
by any algorithm update because I’m not trying to play Google, not trying to do anything
tricky. Those tricky things you’re talking about,
Google tells us not to do them and then it brings our algorithm updates punish anyone
who has done them. Because they’re dodgy and what they’re trying
to do is they’re trying to mislead the customers like false advertising. Like if you built 7,000 links to your crappy
website that’s got no content on it that’s worthwhile having and it’s ranking number
one because of that. Well, that’s not a good experience for the
user who’s searching because they’re getting this bad site at the top. So Google doesn’t want that because Google
is about serving the customer not about serving the business. So, the point is you were never supposed to
do tricky stuff ever. The algorithms don’t affect people like that. And, at the end of the day, Google will always
need to make a connection between what’s typed into a search engine and what’s on your website. It’s not that smart. It’s got an algorithm and a crawler. So, there’s still that connection and the
problem I find is that people don’t do the tech bit which is huge. Flori Pyke [00:30:07] Yeah I really… Can I just say sorry. Yeah, I’m gonna jump in there. You know having worked with so many business
students ourselves and this is something that we teach a bit about just like the website,
very basic kind of you know. These are the boxes you want to tick you guys
and it’s very much around that like making sure that your images are loading quickly. You know, that it’s mobile optimised. You don’t have a pop up that comes up right
away. All these things but to your point Kate can
I just say like the majority of people, they don’t get that right. Kate Toon [00:30:39] No. So, you know I have people coming to my course,
they’ve had a site for two or three years and they haven’t even got the basics done. So, and then you know you’d think again because
you’re a marketer and you understand it but it makes perfect sense that you would write
content that’s relevant to the audience and that you would think about what they’re searching
for. You would make it interesting, engaging and
fun and good to read. But most people don’t do that. And then, you’d think with your content marketing,
your blogging that you would write blogs and they’d have a start and middle and an end
and then that actually solve a problem. And that you’ve put nice graphics in them. But most people don’t do that. And then, you’d think that people would in
common sense get other websites to link to them. For the number of people who get to week five
in my course we do backlink audit and they haven’t got one link pointing at them. Oh they’ve got Facebook and Twitter and Instagram
but they don’t count. They’re not counted as links. So, your guy I guess is more maybe at the
pointy end of SEO and he’s saying that like the trickery and the black hats SEO trick
doesn’t work anymore. No it doesn’t and good. I’m glad it doesn’t. Because what Google just keep saying again
and again and I was lucky enough to go to Holland this year and speak to some of the
guys at Google. I got them on my podcast as well. That they are just saying that you know, just
think about your customers. That’s what we said at the beginning. Stop thinking about marketing so much and
pushing out your messages and your sales objective and your ROI. Obviously, that’s important but just think
about how can you best serve your customers. And then, most of this is common sense. Humans hate pop ups. Humans hate slow sites and badly designed
websites and crappy images and poor copy. We hate that. So, if you come from a human centric point
of view, you will nine times out of ten please google and that sounds like common sense. But as you said most sites don’t do that and
they don’t even take that step back and try and look at their site objectively. So yeah I think the algorithm is getting smarter
but you know it’s 10 years ago, people are telling me SEO was dead and they continued
to say it and it doesn’t die it just evolves. [Flori agrees] You just have to move with
it. They’re not after the likes of you and me
if you see what I mean. We’re not the bad guys. [Flori says “We’re not wearing the black hats”]
We’re not smart enough to break the rules. You have to be super smart SEO consultant
to navigate, know and break the rules. So yeah. [Flori says “So we’re in the clear. OK.”] This should be good. Flori Pyke [00:33:00] OK. Now another question I have for you because
I hear this question come up a lot amongst our student base is obviously there are a
lot of SEO consultants, companies, agencies out there who charge a like you know an ongoing
fee, a monthly fee to do your SEO and I have a question here because unless you’re pumping
out blog posts every week, every day, what have you where you need to have your SEO optimised
like keywords and whatnot, images. If you have just a plain Jane website and
you’re not doing too many updates to it, my understanding and this is where I want to
tap into your wisdom, but once you do your SEO, if you don’t make a change to the website
and as long as you’re kind of keeping abreast of exactly like any updates that the algorithm
has that you don’t want to step on any toes per say with your SEO like do you have to
constantly work on your website’s SEO once you’ve done it once? So, how does that work? Kate Toon [00:33:58] It’s a valid point. Different ways of looking at. So, I like to say that SEO is for life not
just for Christmas. [Flori agrees] So, when we talk about the
tech stuff that is kind of set and forget. Once you built your website well, if you maintain
it and look after plugins and keep it up to date, that is a set and forget. You shouldn’t have to be constantly going
back and tinkering with stuff like that. But the problem with keywords and content
and ongoing is that keywords do change. So, for example, if you typed in Harry and
Meghan into Google two years ago, what kind of results would you have got. You got nothing. But now Harry and Meghan, you know one of
the most popular search terms in the world after their marriage and that kind of media
interest in them. It’s changed that keyword for life and you
don’t know what’s happening with your keyword. So, there is a degree of every couple of months
or three months really looking at whether people are still typing in the same things
that you’re typing in. For example, when I started out with SEO. No one even knew what the acronym meant. There was no point going after that. Things change. So, keywords evolve. I would say that copy styles evolve. If I look at the way that I was writing copy
for clients five years ago it’s much more formal. Now, it’s conversational. Also, obviously now we have voice search. People aren’t even writing into Google. Something like 70 percent of all search is
done via voice search on a mobile. So, you know if you’re looking for like where’s
the nearest whatever people aren’t typing it into Google. It changes the way we speak. Flori Pyke [00:35:20] Oh my God. I’m really like not on that bandwagon. So, what do you mean? Like Siri? Kate Toon [00:35:23] Yeah. So, hey Siri. [Flori says “Oh she bugs me”] where’s the
best pizza parlor in Sydney. [Flori says “She gets it wrong”] She bugs
me too. But we’re not millennials. We’re not the next generation. [Flori agrees] Maybe not. We are not necessarily our target audience
[Flori agrees]. Voice search is changing things. But I’ll tell you what the SEO agencies are
charging you for. Let me very, very clear. Flori Pyke [00:35:40] Yes, can I please? This is exactly like can we please address
this? [Kate says “Break it down.”] Yeah because you know what. They’re not cheap. [Kate says “No, they’re not cheap”] It’s like
Eight hundred dollars plus and eight hundred dollars is a steal. Kate Toon [00:35:55] That is very low level. [Flori says “That’s what I’m saying”] The
average company like someone like you or someone like me would be paying at least fifteen hundred
dollars a week. Well, let’s break that down, I mean you know
a good copywriter, a good graphic designer, a good SEO consultant will be at least one
hundred fifty dollars an hour, something around that level. Yeah. So one hundred fifty dollars an hour is you
getting ten hours a month of them. What could you do in ten hours of marketing? I could probably write a couple of blog posts. I could fix a few things and then if I want
to get a back link on someone else’s site I have to start a relationship with them. Email them back and forth. Get their editorial guidelines. Write the guest blog. Send it off. Maybe make edits. Put it up and I tell you that so that you
think about the 10 hours to start off with, it’s not as much time as you may think it
is and then they got to report back to you and talk to you as well, so 10 hours, not
that much. Then, if we break it down further and this
is the other thing that people ask is why is it ongoing? It’s because a lot of the work with SEO is
done in that tech. Yes they do the audit. They fix all that stuff. That’s a big chunk of the money and they could
just charge you upfront for that but what they do is try and make it easier for you
and break it down over the months. So you’re not being hit with a big fee. Then they’re going to look do your keyword
research. That’s a big chunk of work from which you
get your keywords then they’re going to optimise your pages. Maybe they’ve said they’re going to try and
get you to rank for 20 keywords. Maybe they’ll look at 10 pages then rewrite
the titles, the metas, the copy. Make sure they’re fast and then that’s all
the hard work done and they’ve probably done all of that in the first couple of months. So, they could just charge you for that and
then send you on your merry way. But what they do is they spread it out a little
bit because also you don’t see results with SEO in the first 1 month, 2 months, 3 months. It can take up 6 months but then moving on
from that. Once they’ve done that stuff, all they are
doing every month is building backlinks. The average cost to get a good quality backlink,
I’m not talking about handing over cash, maybe I’m talking about effort and time, it’s about
400 to 500 dollars a backlink. What do I mean by that? Well, if you have to pay a copywriter to write
a guest blog you have to have the admin and back and forth. It’s about three hours of someone’s time. Hundred and fifty dollars an hour, 450 dollars. So, four backlinks a month is what you’ll
be paying for. And, the backlinks is what makes the difference
because you can build the most perfectly SEO optimised site with useful keyword research. But, if you are not driving traffic to it
from other sites, it’s like having a beautiful island resort with all the amenities you can
imagine. But there’s no airport and there’s no ferry
service. So, that’s what SEO consultants are doing. Now, do I advocate spending this money? Not necessarily. It’s the same with anything in the small business,
you have to make your choices. I now pay for an accountant and a bookkeeper
and a graphic designer and a proofreader and a web developer. I have three VAs but when I started out I
did all of it myself. And, I really looked at what I was good at,
what I enjoyed, what I was struggling with. I will never be good at finance. I will always outsource that. And, for me, it’s worth the money I pay to
get the results. And that’s the question that you need to ask
yourself when it comes to SEO consultants. A) Can you afford two grand a month? If you can, pay it. Because even with DIY, it’s very rare that
anybody would be doing SEO at the level of an expert SEO consultant who’s been doing
it for 20 years. So, if you’ve got the money pay for it but
then ask them about the return on investment. What you want to see. And, it’s not ranking, you want to see an
increase in traffic and you want to see an increase in conversions. And, if you can see that after three months
you know if I’m paying two grand a month but I’m making 20 grand a month off the back of
it, same as Facebook ads. Problem is I think a lot of SEO agencies aren’t
transparent about their methods. They aren’t transparent about results. They bamboozle their clients and the clients
are just handing over money without really understanding what they’re paying for. [Flori agrees] Then it falls down the SEO
company gets a bad reputation, maybe they are good, maybe they’re not good. There’s good ones and bad ones. But the final thing to say on that is SEO
is not like advertising. You pay your money on Facebook ads or Google
and you know you’re paying ten dollars a click. You can work at your cost per click and you
ROI it’s easy to do. You stop paying, you stop getting your conversions. SEO is different. It’s a bit like PR. So you know you go to a PR agency and they’ll
write you a really good press release and they will send it to the media list and they
will hammer that list and say please publish it, please publish it. And, they just won’t. Does that mean you don’t pay the PR consultant? They still did all the work. It just didn’t work. So, it’s not as quantifiable. And, also one article in a newspaper, how
do you quantify really… this is what we’re talking about at the beginning. How much brand awareness that brings you? How many sales you get out of it? It’s not as easy… [Flori says “I mean there are ways but I hear
you. It’s not as… Yeah”] There are ways as
with SEO but I think people don’t understand the ways [Flori agrees]. And they look at the wrong metrics. All they look at is ranking. And all I would look at is why am I on the
cover of Marie Claire [Flori laughs and says “Vogue, darling. Vogue.”] whereas I’m not looking at traffic, time on
site, well you know what I mean. It is a fiddly one. But my main thing would be if you do not understand
what you’re paying for, do not be paying for it. [Flori agrees] I just think that that’s true
in all aspects of life. You don’t have to be an expert but you have
to be able to ask for something to be done, know when it’s done, ask for something to
be fixed and understand and be able to believe that it has been fixed. And I think that’s the problem a lot of the
time. Flori Pyke [00:41:08] No, I think it’s a really
valid point. I mean even like Facebook ads is something
I talk about a lot with our students even with our mastermind students, it’s like you
guys you need to learn how to do this first before you outsource it or at least know how
it works because otherwise you don’t know what questions to ask. You don’t know what’s a good benchmark. You don’t know even like… It’s like talking another language. [Kate agrees] So, if you don’t know what language
they’re speaking, you’re gonna have a really hard time communicating with each other even. Kate Toon [00:41:34] Yeah. And, I think unfortunately that’s why we do
and you and I both in this space, we do see a lot of businesses who can’t face learning
this stuff so they hide on other platforms. They hide on Instagram. They hide in Facebook groups joining like
ladders and writing inane comments. [Flori agrees] And, none of it’s making any
difference. And they’re not making any money and they’re
feeling like a failure. And it’s because that will never work because
everyone can do that. If you want to make a difference you have
to do something different and you have to do something a bit hard and it is a bit hard. I don’t want to learn about Facebook ads. Like holy moly. But I know that, you know you talked earlier
about my organic growth and whatever. I am literally a victim of that thing because
I don’t particularly want to pay for Facebook ads because I don’t particularly understand
them. I don’t like spending money and it would be
so much easier for me if I could get like 20,000 thousand people into my funnel with
a few ads rather than speaking at events and writing content. Yes, because if the return on investment is
right, then it’s all good. But because I’m not 100 percent aufait with
it I’ve resisted it for quite a while. It’s worked out OK for me. But you see what I mean even I do this. So, I get it. Flori Pyke [00:42:42] Yeah, I mean this is
me and SEO. [both laugh and Kate says “I’ll teach you SEO. You teach me Facebook ads.] Yeah, I think it sounds great. Let’s do it. Let’s line it up. All right. Awesome. Well, you talked about a bit about you know,
if you are a small business and it is something that you want to tackle on your own. I would love for you on that front to tell
us a little bit more because obviously I mean this is your jam through and through. I know you have a number of courses. Can you tell us a little bit more around where
our audience can find more about you and perhaps like a couple of courses or a resource that
would be a value to them? Kate Toon [00:43:16] Thank you for letting
me share them. I think that the easiest place to start is
on Facebook. We often ask questions in Facebook groups
about SEO but maybe we’re not asking them in the right groups because people are trying
to be helpful but it’s like the blind leading the blind so I’ve got a big group on Facebook
called I Love SEO. Obviously when you join, you probably won’t
love SEO but I hope you’ll love it more when you leave. And, there it’s just like it’s very gentle
you know its tips that you could read a little article or watch a little video. You can consume it as you want to consume
it and maybe that will warm you up and then I have a free course called SEO Nibbles. Again, a really stupid name because as you
can probably guess I say SEO Nipples throughout the course by accident. Flori Pyke [00:43:53] Oh I actually thought,
I mean I didn’t even think about the nipples. I was like oh it’s such a cute name. [laughs] Kate Toon [00:43:55] It just came out after
about the tenth time. I was like so in the SEO Nipples course and
then I just left it in and I was like let’s just let’s just live with it, people. But that’s like a 3-day beginner course which
covers a lot of what we talked about today. In terms of those three pillars. It also has a great little thing on day three
of how to evaluate an SEO consultant and decide whether they are the person for you with some
questions to ask them. And then, it kind of goes up. I’ve got like a 10-day course which is low
cost. I’ve got a course that helps you build your
sites and then I’ve got the big cause which is kind of you know if you’re really, the
way I look at it and I’m sure you’ll agree is that marketing is as much about repelling
as it is about attracting. So, I don’t want people on the course who
are going to freak the hell out. I want them to have gone through the early
steps because that will show you whether you are the sort of person who likes fixing problems
and who likes this kind of work. I hate accountancy. You could make me do 100 courses. I’m never going to want to do it. So, I’m not going to pay two thousand dollars
for a course. It’s like paying for a running machine and
thinking that you gonna get thin just because you’ve got the running machine and you have
to run on it. I would never run on that running machine. So, my funnel is all about helping you decide
whether this is something you want to take control of. And, even if you decide at the end of it that
you don’t want to, at least go out into the world feeling a bit more empowered and better
able to have conversations about this without feeling like a complete noob and a complete
numpty. You know you’ve got, as you said you’ve got
the Lexicon, you’ve got the language, you’ve got the terminology to know what a search
engine results page is, what a title tag is, to know what that is and be able to talk about
it without feeling stupid. Because, I think that that’s what holds a
lot of us back. It’s fear of being made a fool of and fear
being taken for a ride. And, it’s a real and genuine fear and fear
we should have. Flori Pyke [00:45:44] I was going to say I
think it’s a very valid fear like I can’t tell you enough like how many we go back to
the subject of Facebook ads but you know we’ve had the wool pulled over our eyes like rewind
kind of four years ago when we started out, hired someone, spent over ten thousand dollars
and didn’t make one sale out of it. Kate Toon [00:46:04] Yeah. And it’s big money. [Flori says “like it’s scary”]. It’s the kind of money that can break your
business. This is money that we put aside for our holidays,
for our mortgages, for our kids. It is a big decision and it can have a big
impact like if you do get the Facebook ads right, you get SEO right, it can be transformative. But it’s about finding a good source of truth. And, I hope that I am one. I’ve got enough free stuff that I don’t feel
that it equals out my paid stuff. So come, take all my free stuff. I don’t care as long as you go out into the
world feeling good. Some percentage of people want to take next
step. I’m good with that. But you know I think you need to find the
source of truth. You need to stop taking advice from your mum’s
hair dresser’s dog about SEO or like asking groups and people say yeah you need to publish
a blog every single week because Google likes fresh content. No, it doesn’t. Stop it. Move on. It’s advice like that and I see people giving
advice like that and it makes me cringe and sometimes I weighed in. But these days I’m getting a bit old and tired
and I don’t. So, don’t take advice from randoms. Find a source of truth. Stick to one source of truth. There’s a lot of conflicting opinions but
just stick to one source of truth. It’s not rocket science. It is a learning curve but it’s entirely doable. I’ve had people who are like you know everybody
from like eyebrow tattooists to vets to chiropodists and funeral parlour owners do my course and
see results. [Flori says “That’s fantastic.”] They’re not technical. And, they have no interest in doing this kind
of thing. They want to be doing eyebrows and burying
people. They don’t want to be peddling around in Google
Analytics but you can do it or do something, make it better. It may not be stellar. But anything you do. You know if you increase your traffic by a
thousand visits a month that’s huge. So it’s worth a pop. Be brave, be brave. Flori Pyke [00:47:48] Yeah. I love it. Feel like I’m at Brene Brown right now. Come on. [laughs] Oh yeah. Totally. All right. Thank you so much, Kate. That’s been really, like I’ve really enjoyed
this episode and being able to pick your brains on all things SEO and I know that our listeners
feel the same. I love all the analogies I feel like you break
things down into you know [Kate says “The Bachelor. The Bachelor of SEO.”] Totally. You had me at Bachelor. Absolutely. [Kate laughs] Now, for our listeners to get
your hands on the show notes and learn more about Kate, you can head over to And, Kate I’m going to put you on the spot
here but we normally end with a bit of a parting thought. So I’d love for you to share a parting thought. And just because I’m selfish, I want to learn
a little something aside from SEO. But biggest business lesson to date. Can you share anything around that? I want to know. I mean obviously you’ve done extraordinarily
well so here’s me like give me all the wisdom. Kate Toon [00:48:56] It’s such a cheesy word
but it’s the one I still battle with. It’s a lesson I’m still learning and it really
is the comparison one you know. I think many of us use look at our competitors
and think that we’re doing competitor research whereas really we’re just beating ourselves
up about what we haven’t done and what we need to do and comparing are our apples with
their eggs, not our apples with their apples and comparing our journey with others. I still do it. I still sometimes fall down the rabbit hole. It is so unproductive. So, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is if
I ever need to know what to do next, I don’t find that out by looking at my competitors. I find out by asking my customers and they
will tell me loud and clear and that to me has been the biggest lesson. Literally, what do you want me to do next? They go we want something like this and want
this. And I do it rather than looking at another
person who just launched this. I’m going to do that. So don’t look out look in I think would be
my biggest lesson. Flori Pyke [00:49:49] Love it. OK. Thank you so much. It’s been awesome. I really enjoyed [Kate says “Thank you and
I’m going to put that session for you to teach me Facebook ads.”] Yeah. And, vice versa. Get me on the SEO train. All right. Awesome. [Kate says “Awesome, Thank you so much.”] Thank you. And to our listeners, remember to elevate
your business game.

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