In this episode, we wrap up our 2021 Year End Recap featuring highlights from the second half of the season. Part 2 of the recap includes our interviews with Justin Smith of OuterBox, marketing intern Madeline Weisburn, and Rob Warner of PPC Ad Lab.
Justin Smith - How to Use Statistics to Build Hight Authority Links 1:30
Madeline Weisburn - How Agencies Can Create Attractive Internship Programs 5:55
Rob Warner - The Reasons Why He and Joe Decided to Exit Invisible PPC 9:26
Before we got started on the show, I was telling you about how we came across an article that you wrote about white hat link building, and developing what you call link magnet pages. And one of the big reasons I wanted to get you here on the show today, and one of the things I wanted to focus on and to be honest, kind of pick your brain about. So I'm really curious, like, what are the main strategies that you guys are employing to rank for these, obviously, Uber competitive keywords, you know, SEO is doing SEO, you know, gets pretty competitive?
Yeah, you know, there's a, there's a lot of things. I mean, one is obviously up to have great content. I mean, he still see SEO companies or suggestions where like, you bring him a site, and all they want to do is link building. And there's some value to link building, for sure. But at the end of the day, you still have to have great content. First, you have to have a great technical site, I will say you can't really rank a site just from doing technical things, right, you can definitely kill a site from doing technical things wrong. So you have to make sure that's all buttoned up. But yeah, great content. And then, you know, when we're using this strategy that we're talking about with statistics, it's really building an awesome page that deliver some value. And then it's, it's ranking that page. So it's kind of the what comes first, right? You rank the page, and then you get more links into the page. So it's, it's that balance of how do you get that ball rolling a little bit?
Perfect. So when when you build a link statistics page, which I'm assuming is like one of your types of link? Magnet pages, right? What do you get the statistics from? Is it just aggregation? Is it you guys doing your own statistics? What's what's worked for you guys?
Honestly, yeah, we kind of did it the cheap way. When we built our first page doing it, it was kind of a test, we never realized that the page that we built would be as big as it is. And it really has helped our domain authority, because we're getting a ton of links into it all the time. But yeah, we just, we just aggregated it from different sources cited some different sources put it all in one clean document that honestly the pages and anything crazy, you know, it's got some bullet points, and it shows some things, we've got a super basic infographic, you know, probably took 20 minutes. And yeah, that was really it. I mean, I think you if you have the time, and you have the ability to do that research and get your own statistics, I think there's some great value in mixing the two together, you know, blending in some authority sources and your own.
Yeah, it's really interesting. In our space in the in the agency marketing, world, BrightLocal, I think has done a really good job of doing their own statistics and their own research, one of the only companies I've really seen do it. And if you look at the backlinks and their competitors, it's like, there's no wonder they're smashing everybody, because everybody's linking to their content over and over and over, and they keep refreshing it every year. So I mean, it's just, it's just a wheel that just keeps a flywheel that just keeps spinning.
Yeah, it's definitely important to keep it updated. You know, once once it's working, you can kind of just let it sit there and forget about it. But you'll realize that the blink start falling off of the rankings start dropping for that page as well. So but yeah, the pages that we really have had a ton of success, is we build statistics around mobile online shopping. So how many people are you know what percentage of people are buying on mobile devices, that kind of stuff. So if you go to Google, and you search, probably just something like mobile ecommerce stats, you'll probably see our article right at the top. And so we get tons of everybody from GoDaddy to Forbes, the you know, like da 90 sites linking to it all day long, just referencing it when they're talking about online sales.
Yeah, that's beautiful. So if you are going to start out again, and you had to rank that page, what would you do? Like would you buy some links to it? would you how would you get it ranking initially, how would you get that traction?
Yeah, I mean, we had we were lucky when we did it because we already had a high da site. We you know, we Been around for a long time, a lot of content we write, we can write new articles, get them indexed and rank on the first page of Google on matter. So we definitely have that advantage going forward. Now, if you're a brand new website, it might not be the best strategy to use, because you got to get the page out there, you got to get some rankings with it. But I guess that's with any new site. Anybody build, you know, sharing it on social media, trying to get some, you know, just some people you know, to link to it, hey, put it on your Twitter feed for us. Can you share it on Facebook? We always do that within our company. Again, it's nice, we have 80 people that can share something and get a bunch of shares right away, but try to use your network just to share that content piece. And once you get a few gallon, if you can get it, you know, it's just the snowball effect. So yeah, I mean, can you do some guest posting in placements like that? Yeah, I mean, the camera.
So if you guys can't tell Madeline is super switched on. She's somebody that when I think about you, I think about man, like, I would love to draw talent like you into one of my organizations, because I know that you would fuel growth to a whole nother level. And so when I was thinking about running this podcast, I'm like, Man, I know, the audience would love to find talent, like MADELINE That is overachieving doing really well in in class, but also in all these other organizations and in these internships, and so I'm super excited to hear from your point of view, what are the things that would make you interested in working inside of a specific marketing companies? Internship Program?
Yeah, I was just having this conversation with my dad, because I'm applying to internships for the summer at the moment, and my dad has a sentiment that I have sort of latched on to, especially now. And it's that internships are about, you know, investing in students. So if a business is truly investing in me, they are creating opportunities for me to grow and to learn, and it's an experiential learning process. You know, we talked about how there's all kinds of learners in the, in the world, you know, the audio learners visual learners, when it really boils down to is that everybody's an experiential learner. And when I walk into an internship, you know, I want as many opportunities as possible to be as hands on as possible. So, you know, I don't want you just telling me about the projects you do, I want you to actually have me working on them, and then give me constructive criticism on how I can grow my work and what what I'm doing and how it provides value, or if it provides value kind of thing. So you know, when we look at marketing agencies and what they can do for their interns, you know, the hands on elements really critical how you grow your customer base, that kind of thing. Experience?
Yeah, so I think, you know, at the end of the day, I think probably most marketing agencies would be really excited about working with interns, because it's free labor, right, but you got to know as well, that it's an exchange, right? It's that there's a reason that you would be willing to do that, right. And it's because you're going to get the learning experience. So obviously, you know, like you said, you got to be hands on, you got to give them a good experience. You got to make sure that it's something that I would I would have the goal that matalin it would be something that you'd be excited about, and be so thankful for the opportunity that you're going to go back and tell everybody else that walls, so that okay, next next semester, I get a whole slew of, you know, interns wanting to come and apply.
Yeah, yeah. And I'm always I'm always really hesitant about like, employers who see me as free labor or like cheap labor, right? Because, like, I, I know my value to an extent, right, like, I may not have the same level of experience as everybody else on the team, but I'm providing a really useful perspective on your marketing and what you bring to the table. So that's, that's still value. And, you know, obviously, you're not gonna pay me the same as anybody else. But I still hope you heed what I bring to the table.
Yeah, there's got to be value there, obviously.
So now I'm going to take you to the next step. And that's reason being got to know each other ventually that when did you start? So you started in 20? Like 2019 some stuff and then 2020 When did you start realizing that okay, you know, I'm back into my sweet spot. Doing this software. agency business is something it's great when I really want to do this more. So when did that start hitting you?
So for me, it came down to a couple of things. I I'm And I'm very conscious of what I say what next is what it sounds like I'm about to be negative towards my agency business. And that's not the case I am proud of and enjoyed the business that we built over a long period of time. That said, agency is a messy business. It's got lots of people, lots of move people moving parts. And fundamentally, I'm, I guess I would describe myself as a creative kind of introvert. That doesn't play well in a people business. You know, you don't get into white labeling a nerdy kind of technical thing, because you want lots of people relationships. And it's not I don't like people relationship, I just think I find them tiring, I find them hard work. So for me, there's always this element of a business that grows through people I find quite emotionally tiring to run. I feel like I take a personal responsibility for every single good or bad thing that happens. And that takes a toll over time, because tiny little human errors. And you might find this as well, when you're the leading an organization, rarely the people bring you the good news. Yeah, they bring you the brown sticky stuff that bring you the problems that bring you the bad things that have happened. And so you can sometimes end up with a sort of a negative worldview. Because the only thing the only client interactions you've had this weekend are five people about a problem. You don't hear the 95 who didn't have a problem? Yes, the five who did yeah. And my psyche works very much on progression and forward motion. So dealing with backwards negative stuff I find quite draining. Whereas I know that person X had a bad day, that day, they made a mistake, the cloud was upset, okay, resolved. Whereas if I build a software, the software doesn't have a bad day.
Yep. If it is something wrong, it'll be wrong everyday.
Exactly. Fixed, it's not fixed, I get that software is not going to help out day tomorrow, because it's random. So for me, that was one part of it was that sense of the people relationships can get quite physically, mentally and emotionally demanding for me and tiring. If I'm was to be more commercial about it. Agency businesses have a value when you accept names in business. And you know, there's a range of profit multiples of an agency business that are relatively small, right? Yeah. Because there's actually busy, messy people businesses, until you get to kind of like about 3 million per year EBIT, which we weren't at when the melt the revenue, multiples jump at that point. So there are people you see doing roll ups in agencies where you take five down to get to get 3 million. Instead of being, you know, maybe two to four times EBIT, you're up seven to eight times, get that software business has a valuation, typically based on revenue. And that can be five to 10 times revenue, or 15 times in some cases or even more. So I looked at the just the pure math of where I'm spending my effort and conscious I'm getting a 50. Soon, I need to focus my effort on high ROI activities. If I spend another 18 months, or two years or three years a full effort building an agency, the best I can expect, let's say four times or five times my profit. I spent 18 months building a software, I can expect 10 times my revenue. Okay. Purely from that perspective, it makes more sense for me, given that my background is software anyway, to focus on building software for a market that I already know understand, which is the agency market. Because I know who these people are, I know the problems. I will build things at scale, that I can solve those problems. So that was the thing for me. And it became to a point where it's, it's difficult to ride two horses. I was trying to ride two horses, and one was going faster than the other one. And if you want to get one's going fast, the other lanes get very important, but it's not fun. So I had to make a decision and that decision was ultimately to exit the agency.