For clients to discover your amazing content and unbeatable services, you need that edge called SEO.
Search engine optimization can set you apart from your large pool of competition. That is if you do it right.
After going from Red Pages to Yellow Pages and then starting his own SEO company, John Vuong can tell you all about the miraculous benefits of SEO.
Especially for local service-based companies. He is the owner of Local SEO Search, after all.
So if you don’t take my word for it, hear it from the expert in this episode of Dreamer’s Den Podcast all about How to Use SEO to Reach your Dream Clients.
Connect with Local SEO Search:
0 (0s): Danielle Towner: My rule of thumb is build a site for a user, not a spider. That’s a quote from Dave Naylor that sums it all up about SEO. Search engine optimization is a tool that you can benefit from for your business. But the overall action that you should be taking is to make your product, your service, your content, and your marketing better and for the benefit of your users and your audience. And that’s something that today’s guest explains perfectly best.
0 (33s): That’s one of the most important things that he discussed and the core of his entire process, but it goes so much deeper than that. And he himself put it in the words of saying your vehicle needs all of these different parts. It needs tires, it needs an engine, it needs a motor, it needs a body. And without any of these things, it won’t function properly. That’s exactly what he discusses today as he breaks down the different parts of search engine optimization, how you can use it to make your business better and to make a better experience for potential customers, and how he can help you do that.
0 (1m 10s): So keep listening for more about search engine optimization and how this business owner is helping customers improve their user experience and their overall business.
1 (1m 27s): <music>
0 (1m 32s): Welcome back for another episode of Dreamers Den Podcast and if you’re here with us for the first time, I’m so happy you’re joining us. I am Danielle Towner of Dream Work Creatives and I help entrepreneurs build their brand awareness and online presence through website design, content marketing, and digital products. And today we have something special in store for you. So on the previous episode, I told you we would be getting into our content marketing series, and I kind of did an intro into what SEO is and why it should matter to you, why you should be concerned about it for your online business.
0 (2m 10s): So we have an expert on the line with us, John Vong. He started off like living his life to the fullest, and he’s done some amazing things. Two of those amazing things was that he worked for two companies, one call Red Book and the other Yellow Book. And from there, he eventually started his own search engine optimization company, and he’s been rocking and rolling ever since. So hist company is a local SEO Search and he’s here to tell you all about his entrepreneurial journey and also to dig a little bit deeper into SEO and some of the things that you can incorporate into your business and how he can help you take that even further.
0 (2m 57s): So thank you for joining us, John. John Vuong: Thank 2 (3m 0s): You for having me Danielle thanks for the intro.
0 (3m 5s): Danielle: Awesome. I’m so glad you’re on because I’m happy to talk to you too so. John: Yeah.
2 (3m 11s): Yeah. So yeah, like in terms of like the, the story itself, like I started back at Red Pages up to my first career. It was a book that actually went, it was a directory printed of every single website. So before Google kind of took off, and if you remember back in two thousands, early two thousands, computers were Pentium one or two and maybe Pentium three, but it was dial up internet.
2 (3m 41s): And if you had to boot up your computer and you had to send an email, it took you five minutes to boot up a load up a browser load up things. And it took time, right? And therefore the concept of having a directory printed of every single website, and these would be going to every single business and home, but it was all business addresses at that time was a brilliant idea because we didn’t know how fast technology would advance at that time.
2 (4m 11s): Right? As you know, things kind of pivot away from traditional media to now, digital media. So I actually worked there for a couple years and I was a very strong advocate of that. I was selling ads, right? I was a salesperson there. And for me, I believed in a product and that’s why I went out and sold it. And, you know, a couple years into it, I got recruited to do some online affiliate advertising. It was still in the advertising sales space.
2 (4m 42s): And then I moved away to actually work at the major competitor, which was Yellow Pages. And everyone knows yellow pages being the phone book, right. And so I was selling ad space. And I was there for five years. So that course of time, before I started my agency, I actually worked at yellow pages for five. And I work with thousands of local business owners to really understand what their needs and desires and wants were and how I can provide value. But as the end of my tenure at yellow pages happened, I got to really understand like their return on investment.
2 (5m 19s): The spend that people were constantly, you know, spending on a monthly basis was not adding up, right. People were pivoting away from traditional media to more digital and having a web presence and owning different assets online was very, very popular at that time. So I knew there was writing on the wall that the printed phone book would probably not be around for a lot longer, right. Revenues were decreasing, usership was moving in pivoting to more digital, and there were different options than the flyers newspaper, directories, trade shows, radio, television kind of a media, right.
2 (6m 0s): Landscape. And it was moving towards search engines, social media, podcasting, video streaming, even video’s online, right? Like all of these other content pieces online. And I had to make a change, right. I was at a point where I either continue doing what I was doing, which was sales and advertising sales in particular. And I did it for over 10 years and I really enjoyed it, but I knew continue doing that. I would probably not be in, have a career much longer.
2 (6m 32s): So I had to figure out, like, I either try something new, start a business, because I knew there was a need and a gap in the marketplace and then sell it, which that’s my strengths. But I just had no clue about anything about SEO at that time. So when I started seven years ago, I had no technical background. I knew that there was a need in the marketplace, and I knew business owners were willing to pay for a product or service that once delivered properly, they would continue paying for. So that’s how I got into the business.
0 (7m 4s): Danielle: Awesome. That’s an amazing story. And one thing that I had pulled out what you were saying, is like from the beginning, you said when you were selling ads, when you first started in this type of business, that you believed in the product. And that’s kind of one thing that I tell them, like, when people are getting into like a product of their own, or even if it’s affiliate marketing, it has to be something that you trust and you believe in, you know, for you to try to sell it or sell someone else on using and believing in the product too.
2 (7m 39s): John: Absolutely. Like being the strongest advocate for the product or service that you’re selling you, no one else will sell it better than yourself, especially if you’re the owner, right. If you can not sell your product for service, no one else we’ll do it better. So you better believe in what you believe in and go out and take action and go and get some sales revenue.
0 (8m 2s): Danielle: Right. Absolutely. Now you started an SEO company. So what made you get into SEO?
2 (8m 11s): John: Yeah, so SEO, as you know, Google kind of replaced traditional yellow pages, right. And Google was pretty much what yellow pages was a hundred years ago or 20 years ago, right? Danielle: Right. John: It’s a directory and was an easy, accessible information of every single local business or regional business had to be there and it only got published and distributed once a year. But now with the advent of internet and Google and search engines and different digital assets, it’s now real time that anyone one can go and access information before it was only going out once a year.
2 (8m 51s): So for me, it was all about the transition between users. And you have to understand how technology played a role and where you can be in front of your ideal customers or potential prospects and people that are buying, consuming your product or service at the moment of purchase, right? Because where are they consuming, how are they consuming, and where the search engines play in the grand scheme of digital marketing. And so I focused more heavily on search engine’s in particular, a Google because I felt at being very similar to what Yellow Pages did very well, which was having a strong user base that relied on when there is a plumbing issue or a roofing problem, they are picking up the Yellow Pages section navigating for a business and consulting or finding someone that meets their needs and calling for that product or service.
2 (9m 46s): It’s similar to Google. Now you’re pretty much doing the same thing, but there’s a lot of different options you have. There’s paid ads at the top, there’s local map, three pack, and below that is organic. And if you are a Googler or you search on Google, you probably know the difference between ads and non ads. But what SEO is all about is appearing organically or naturally without paying to be an ad on Google.
2 (10m 16s): So that’s why I focus on where I position business owners, website, you know, entrepreneurs to become more thought leaders, experts, authoritative figures within their niche or local market.
0 (10m 30s): Danielle: Nice. Now that’s kind of a simple explanation of it. I did my best as a content marketer to explain to my audience what it is. Cause a lot of, even my website clients when I talked to them about search engine optimization, sometimes they’ll say, well, is that, where you where my contact information pops up and my name and phone number when people go to Google? And I’m like, well, not exactly. That’s Google my business. So like how would you explain to someone who is like completely new to search engine optimization?
0 (11m 3s): Like what it is?
2 (11m 5s): John: Yeah. Search engine optimization is pretty much the natural listings of Google appearing on that first page, right. Optimizing your business, just like how you optimize your health. Just like, you know, how you optimize relationships. It’s all about making sure that all assets and every single variable that determines why you are on that first page is fully to the optimized ability, right?
2 (11m 35s): And you are always relative to someone else. So you’re competing with all these other websites that are wanting to also own that first place page ranking on Google, because what Google ‘s trying to do is provide the best user experience for every individual. And it’s personalized, usually. And what you need to try to do is inform Google and let them know that you’re doing and performing everything you can so that they trust you enough to reward you that first place page ranking, right?
2 (12m 7s): Because they know that if they vet these business owners are the right way and their putting in serving up the best websites for that certain search query. Then those users will constantly come back to Google because they feel Google has already done their best job, providing the best search results for the user. So what you need to understand is focus on running a really good business, owning great assets, like your website and different properties, but optimizing it for the full purpose of your users and not for AI, RankBrain, and anything else.
2 (12m 45s): So I focus more heavily on understand who your customers are and delivering what they solely want and need. Right. And everything else will kind of sort itself out. And yes, it starts off with content. It starts off with building a great website, but there are so many more facets to ranking on Google because there is over 200 signals, right? And each signal will have an impact, positive or negative based on where you stand relative to your competitors.
0 (13m 16s): Danielle: Nice. And it sounds like you said it starts off like Google has to trust you so that the users who are searching for information can trust them.
2 (13m 26s): John: Exactly. And if they don’t trust you, how could you, you know, be rewarded, right. And it takes time. It takes time to be rewarded, right? Because just like running a business, not everyone will be successful. Not everyone will, you know, be in business after one or two years. Right. So it’s all about vetting and they’re gonna do their due diligence as much as possible. So focus more heavily on what really matters, which is taking care of your customers, understanding who they are.
2 (13m 57s): That journey is important, your ideal customer, and really focus on providing information too, who you want to attract. And then eventually everything else will follow.
0 (14m 8s): Danielle: Got it. Now your company is local SEO search. What are some of the significant differences between traditional SEO and local SEO?
2 (14m 19s): I always feel a traditional SEO is below the map. Localized is really regional in focus right. So if you are service based, like looking for a local dentist, plumber, roofer, et cetera, it’s probably localized to some extent because you’re not going to travel within your, with outside your city. And then traditional is more B to B. It doesn’t matter about region. You just want someone that can provide you the best product or service. Right? So for me, the reason I focus on local is because of my background.
2 (14m 52s): I worked at Red Pages I worked at Yellow Pages. I got to really understand local businesses and what kind of impact these small medium sized businesses have on the local community. And me working with thousands of them really helped me refine myself as to my go to strength is helping these small, medium sized business owners get to that level of improving their digital presence so that their audience and community can really use them because I’m helping them position themselves as experts and leaders within that local domain.
2 (15m 27s): So that’s the difference. And that’s what we focus on here at Local SEO Search.
0 (15m 32s): <ad>All right. I want to share a little secret with you guys. When I was first getting started with Dreamers Den Podcast. I had to research to answer a lot of questions. Like how do I record an episode? How do I get my show into all the apps that people like to listen to? And of course, how do I make money from my podcast? The answer to every one of these questions is simple, Anchor. Anchor is a one stop shop for recording, hosting, and distributing your podcast.
0 (16m 3s): And the best thing of all is that its 100% free and ridiculously easy to use. And now Anchor can match you with great sponsors who want to advertise on your podcast. That means you can get paid to podcast right away. And the one thing that I also liked about it is that it kind of reduced the work flow so that you didn’t have to do a lot of the leg work. And I could focus on getting guests and started interviewing and recording immediately.
0 (16m 33s): So if you’ve always wanted to start a podcast, make money doing it, go to Anchor.fm/start to join me and a diverse community of podcaster already using anchor. That’s anchor.fm/start. And I can wait to hear your podcast. Danielle: And I think that some people buy it, they go straight to, or I got to market it on social media and they kind of forget about, you know, there other ways or different ways to narrow it down and reach those local customers who are going to come into your physical businesses.
2 (17m 11s): John: Yeah, I totally agree, but there’s a different mediums, right? And avenues, and this is where you have to really understand who your ideal customer is and how they’re consuming information. And there’s different properties. Some people love consuming YouTube videos. Some people love going to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, but then there’s other people that are going on Google. And how do they consume? Where are they in the buying cycle? And really it’s all about that content piece, right?
2 (17m 41s): Like that message has to resonate with that prospective buyer enough for them to take action. So what are you to get in front of more of your ideal customers? And the more value you bring to these potential prospects, the better your going to be positioned to gain more traction, right. To generate more revenue and get more wins. But it’s all about consistent messaging as well. And all about like just doing good work, honest work, and being in front of the right audience members at the right time.
0 (18m 16s): Danielle: Right. Absolutely. Now, what are some more like specific, small things that new entrepreneurs or small businesses can do to start improving their SEO.
2 (18m 28s): John: Okay. Yeah. Improving your SEO there’s a lot of different facets, but it all starts with building a great website, but understand your customers right. So without knowing who your ideal customer is, it’s very hard for an SEO agency or yourself to try to focus a strategy, to really help you deliver on those types of clients that you want to attract. So you need to know who your best clients are, the ones that pay you the most or the one’s you want to work with. Right? And then the lifetime value of the customers, the one’s that will refer your business.
2 (19m 2s): Create a profile persona in place. Once you have that in mind, then you can create content, pieces, assets, and understand what mediums they use. Because maybe having a website is great, but then you run some Facebook ads or email campaigns or YouTube videos to attack top funnel activity to then move them along that funnel to close to a transaction within your website. So understanding that whole journey and mapping it out accordingly and with SEO, it’s all about creating a great website with great content, positioning yourself as the expert or leader, but then Google also wants you to improve the images, the quality, the speed, security, user experience.
2 (19m 44s): There are so many other metrics behind building a great website. And then of course, how is that relative to your competitors that are currently ranking? Does that mean you have to go out there and get more links, create more content to position yourself as a site leader? How is your reputation out there in the marketplace? There’s so many other facets to ranking a campaign, right, a website. So it’s not just one size that fits all there are so many different things that you need to do very well in order for you to start positioning yourself strategically.
0 (20m 17s): Danielle: Right? So it sounds like they have some homework to do and possibly some delegating of that responsibility.
2 (20m 26s): John: Yeah. It’s a lot of work, right. But it’s really rewarding because if you understand, if you go to Google yourself and you don’t click past the first page, you know, how many other of your potential prospect are gaining traction, getting clicks to their website that potentially you’re missing out on.
0 (20m 45s): Danielle: Right. Absolutely. Now I know that, like you said, and I said also their content marketing is an important piece of the search engine optimization. So when it comes to that, which would you say, like, there’s been like a debate or not really debate, but different people have different opinions on which is more important. Like some people say that copywriting basically closes the sale or that without copyrighting, you wouldn’t gather that audience or those customers, but some people will say that SEO like brings in the revenue.
0 (21m 23s): I know that you’re biased on this, but I’m still going to ask, like which was you say is more important or more critical for the success of like a digital marketing strategy?
2 (21m 33s): John: So with SEO we have different pillars and content is one of the pillars. Not the only because technical is as important as well as link building, which is also important as well as getting some good reputation. So for me, every, everything plays in alignment, right? You need to rank in order to get that prospect, to read your website, right. Click on your website. But you also have to have compelling information on your website to convert them.
2 (22m 3s): Once they click and land on your website. So with traffic comes, you need to position yourself to convert them or else why even have traffic in the first place. So having good content will be great, but then you have no traffic. And what’s the point of having great content if no one is coming to your site and you know, it’s a fine line. Right? And that’s why we as a digital agency that focuses just on SEO. We have pillars that are embodied and a encompass in a full strategic plan, right?
2 (22m 36s): Because one pillar will not do everything well. You need a combination of everything to do it very well. It’s like a car, right? Without wheels and tires or an engine, how can it operate fully and optimized? You can’t, right? So you need everything to run well to have a really good engine going or a car going, right. And that’s what an SEO campaign can really do for your company.
0 (23m 1s): Danielle: Got it. So you’re able to like put all those pieces together to have everything running like a well running machine. Got it. Now, there’s been like a boom. And I think it’s even increased during, like right now with a lot of people are staying at home. There’s like been a boom with the launch of small businesses and they’ve been steadily growing, especially like those with lower barriers to entry, like with easy access to starting that business.
0 (23m 31s): So what would you say is like the difference between the ones that are successful and those that are not because just because everyone is starting a business, that doesn’t mean that, you know, they’re surviving. So do you notice anything that’s missing in the digital marketing for those who aren’t really, you know, the business’s who started and don’t really do well.
2 (23m 53s): John: Yeah. So there’s a big difference, right. But it’s all relative because as a small business owner, what does that really mean? Is a side hustle or are you quitting your full time gig to really do this full time? Right. And then how much will you be happy with in terms of revenue and how much are you willing to put in terms of advertising or time or optimizing or learning. Right. As a small business owner, there’s different ways to get your website up and running there’s Wix sites, there’s Shopify sites, there’s GoDaddy website builders.
2 (24m 26s): So many different ways to get out there, right? Etzy, Amazon, there are so many different things. But what does it mean to be a success, right? It’s all relative. And if you, if it means making $2,000 a month is a really strong business to you, but someone else means $20,000 a month, you know, that’s where there’s a difference, right? Margins play a big role. Time plays a big role.
2 (24m 57s): Where you’re at in life plays a big role. But in terms of like what SEO can really do, it’s all about like positioning and targeting the right type of business, a client, right. Users. Danielle: Right. John: And you have to pick the right medium. So product base, I would say elevate and use different platforms that already have a huge user base, for products like Amazon’s or Shopify, or, you know, Etzy’s because they already have a huge consumer base of people that are willing to buy.
2 (25m 28s): SEO is great for more service-based and bigger ticket items because it’s not transactional. It takes more of a relationship. And there is a lot of different asset pieces that play in a decision, right? Danielle: Right. John: And therefore, that’s why we focus more on small, medium sized business owners, but professional services because they understand the value of, you know they spend a lot of money on bricks and mortars. They spend a lot of money on training in terms of how many years of experience they had to go through.
2 (26m 2s): And then for me it’s all about like, they’re willing to invest in experts that understand because they don’t have time to do it themselves. Right. So if you have the time and you don’t want to spend thousand dollars a month for a campaign, you can learn and do it yourself. Right. You just have to have to value your time accordingly because there’s a lot of videos, and a lot of podcasts, a lot of articles that you can read and try to figure it out. But it’s all about a shrinking time so if you feel are going with someone, or the agency, or freelancers, or in-house to do all of the world.
2 (26m 35s): Then how much time are you saving? What’s the intrinsic value return on investment you’re going to get and will it pay off ultimately? So there are so many things to measure when you’re running a ad campaign or writing a business in general, all of these decisions, right? And it’s up to you on where you wanna be, how you want to position it. But there’s a lot of things to consider, but running an SEO campaign is all about like, if you value your time more than ever, and you want an expert to do it, there’s agencies and people out there that can help you.
2 (27m 9s): If you have time and you want to figure it out and learn, you can definitely do that yourself as well.
0 (27m 15s): Danielle: Absolutely. So it was all about weighing, out, which you have more of, like you said, or which is more important to you. John: Exactly. Danielle: You just made me think of you one other question when you talked about the different platforms, like the, like you said the Shopify, and the Wix, and the build it yourself site builder. Now, if people, like you said, there are so many options out there now, and WordPress has been around for a long time now and people tend- Well, I’ve read that it’s already kind of built to support like better search engine optimization than some of the competitors.
0 (27m 52s): Do you know if there’s any truth to that, or would you say that, you know, all of the platforms are created equal? Or how do you feel about that?
2 (28m 1s): John: So WordPress is a great platform for people that are not technically coders in terms of like programmers, right? Because you will need coding experience. Its a very easy customer management solution where you can go in and make changes yourself with a very easy to use plug and play format. Very similar to Joomla and WordPress. Like, we use WordPress all the time because it’s so easy and you don’t need heavy coding. However, the only downside is there’s a lot of plugins that slow down the server speed and there is a lot of updates that will have different effects based on different aspects.
2 (28m 41s): Right? Word press is great for everyone. We use WordPress ourselves, right? And we have to understand like there’s a fine line between development, coders, hard coders, programmers, to just you’re business owner. If you are a business owner, you can definitely get by with a WordPress plug and play, right? There’s some SEO tools like Yoast and All In One SEO, but that’s surface level on page SEO that can be used on your website. It doesn’t go into very deep SEO like a full SEO campaign that can be delivered, right?
2 (29m 13s): So you have to understand you’re paying for what you get versus a full campaign, and audit with a lot of different software and tools that will really uncover a lot of your gaps. So there is a major difference between someone trying to do it themselves and maybe an agency that’s been through and tested a lot of different scenarios.
0 (29m 33s): Danielle: Got it! You’ve shared a lot of valuable information and you kind of broke down and, like I said, we went deeper with SEO and how to use it and how someone can benefit from using an agency. So I want you to share some details about what services you offer and how people can reach out to work with your company.
2 (29m 55s): John: Yeah. So I think we mentioned, we focus more heavily on the small, medium sized local kind of business owners. We service clients all across North America and they are more service based because that’s where SEO can really make a difference for their business. Danielle: Right. John: And in terms of us, we are a full service agency and that means anything to do with SEO from technical to a content piece, to link building, to strategy, to social reputation.
2 (30m 26s): There’s so many different components to it. We take it on in-house. So when you hire an agency like ourselves, that’s full service, we have 30 plus staff, that’s running a campaign for you versus one or two in-house. So we have a lot more expertise. We have a lot more, you know, projects that we’ve tested and played with in terms of like results and got good feedback. And that’s the major difference, I feel, between us that’s focused solely on SEO versus a digital agency that does everything from ads to social to content.
2 (31m 3s): We just specialize in SEO. And we only want to take on SEO Clients.
0 (31m 8s): Danielle: Right. Yeah. Sometimes that concentration does make a difference when you don’t have your hands in every single thing.
2 (31m 16s): John: Exactly. So we’ve been specializing on this and it’s been great for the last seven years and we continue to just focus on our strength right. And have fun with it. So this is a whole journey that we’re in. I didn’t know much about SEO what I started, but now I know way more than the average person. So, there’s always a constant learning process on this whole digital landscape.
0 (31m 37s): Danielle: Right. Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your expertise and thank you guys for listening. I know that you found valuable, found it helpful in what we’ve shared with you today. If you have any further questions for either of us and your listening to us from the Anchor platform, you can press the record button and you can ask your question. And if your listening from my website, you can scroll down below this recording and ask you a question or make a comment in that comment section.
0 (32m 10s): Thank you guys for listening and Dream Until Your Dreams Come True.
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