Let's Talk About The Future of Blogs For Businesses Podcast - BG Hamrick Talks SEO and Search Marketing

Guest Spot – BG Hamrick Talks SEO and Trends in Search Marketing on The Let’s Talk About The Future of Blogs for Businesses Podcast

SEO and The Power of Search Marketing

Let’s Talk About The Future Of Blogs For Businesses

By Palindrome Communications
Rauf Fadzillah and Khalid Fadzillah from Palindrome talk about blogs and their intersection with tech and the new economy.
Our founder and CEO, BG Hamrick, was a guest on the Let’s Talk About The Future Of Blogs for Businesses Podcast with Rauf and Kahlid Fadzillah. BG spoke about SEO and the power of Search Marketing for Small Businesses.

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Khalid Fadzillah 0:08
Let’s talk about the future of blogs for businesses. A Palindrome Podcast.

Rauf Fadzillah 0:21
Hello, Khalid.

Khalid Fadzillah 0:23
Yep. Hello.

Rauf Fadzillah 0:25
All right, we’re just waiting for our guest. Hang on. So yeah. Basically our guests this time round is.. There he is.

BG Hamrick 0:42
Hello. Hi.

Rauf Fadzillah 0:44
Hi. Hi. Thank you for coming. Thank you for joining us.

BG Hamrick 0:47
Sorry, I’m late. I couldn’t get my desktop to accept the microphone for anchor. So few technical issues, but I’m good. Yeah.

Rauf Fadzillah 0:55
No worries, man. So let me just introduce myself. My name is Rauf from Palindrome. And I’m joined by my co host, Kahlid, also from Palindrome, Kahlid, can you say hi?

Khalid Fadzillah 1:04
Hello, hi.

BG Hamrick 1:06
Hello. Hi.

Rauf Fadzillah 1:08
Cool. So yeah, we’re here. Basically, we’re gonna geek out about SEO. I’m so happy to have like a fellow SEO person here. Yeah, it’s, it’s been a while and I really enjoy talking to fellow practitioners. I was actually like, I’ve been staying up dealing with my own SEO for my site. So anyway, anyway, so. Hello?

BG Hamrick 1:33
yeah, yeah, sure. Sounds good. Sounds like a good.

Rauf Fadzillah 1:37
So we have a very special guest with us here. So maybe you can introduce yourself to the listeners?

BG Hamrick 1:46
Sure, I’m BG Hamrick. I’m the founder and owner of a company called Local Impact Digital Marketing Agency. We’ve been around about 17 years. We’re located in West Virginia and Kentucky in the US. We help small businesses, specifically, we help companies like Home Services, professional services, home service professionals to do get found online with their website and all of their SEO and so forth, been around for a number of years and love what we do. Glad to be here.

Rauf Fadzillah 2:20
Yeah, there’s, there’s something very specific about local SEO now, like local SEO, and, you know, international SEO differ a little bit, maybe you could talk us through a little bit of that.

BG Hamrick 2:31
Sure. In fact, we don’t really have a whole lot of experience in international SEO at all. And when it comes to national SEO for the US or North America, we’ve done little of that as well, we really enjoy working with a local client, it is it is super different. Because you’re operating on different platforms, you’re focusing on geographical areas and geographic terms. You’re looking for an audience that’s in a geographical location and a circle of influence. And it’s a it’s a different strategy altogether. It’s not so much brand awareness as much as it is getting found and being connected to the communities that you’re trying to reach.

Rauf Fadzillah 3:15
Yep, so and this involve like, you know, Google My Business a lot.

BG Hamrick 3:22
It certainly does. Google business Profile, which is called now which is previously Google My Business and Google Plus before that. Google likes to change its name a lot. So yes, it’s very, very important to have a highly optimized Google business profile to be found in the Maps. Google used to give us more options there. Now it’s down to a three pack. So it’s even more difficult to get attention there to be ranked. The companies that we work with, also do Google certified Google guaranteed listings. But yes, Google business profile is certainly important. And you want to make sure that you’ve taken the time to really delve into all that Google Business Profile offers you. Google gives you a lot of power and a lot of strength when it comes to being able to make an effective splash and local SEO with that.

You want to make sure every industry term that you use will be there every service type that you have zip codes and information that you might need, that you might serve, and you want to make sure those are all there as well. You want to do lots of updates on images, make sure you’ve got plenty of profile pictures and posting three to five times a day if possible. And also make sure that you’re out and about in the community and you’re interacting with landmarks and certain areas of the cities so that you can be found geographically as well.

Rauf Fadzillah 5:01
Yeah, yeah, very interesting. Yeah, go ahead. Sorry.

Khalid Fadzillah 5:06
Yeah. And I think that when we talk about the, from like Southeast Asian perspective, I think a lot of a lot of people here tend to underestimate the power. Sorry?

Rauf Fadzillah 5:23
We’re in Malaysia, by the way, just just let our guests know.

Khalid Fadzillah 5:27
Yeah, we are in Malaysia. So from a Southeast Asian perspective, I think a lot of people underestimate the power of local SEO, and really connecting with the community, as opposed to international SEO, I think a lot of people bypass local SEO and try to enter international SEO a little bit too soon. And I think that’s that’s kind of a mistake, in many instances. But so you’ve been doing SEO for about 17 years? That’s, that’s a good amount of time. What would you say is the difference between now and then, like, do you see any kind of difference in terms of how SEO has evolved in terms of how the Google algorithms maybe has differed?

BG Hamrick 6:20
That that’s, that’s really a loaded question. If I get on podcast with you again, tomorrow, you could ask the same question, change tomorrow, from today, it’s constantly, it’s constantly changing, constantly evolving.

Yeah, I remember the time when we could stuff keywords, I remember the time when we could just say, the phrase enough times in an article that it got ranked higher than then other articles, or the website got ranked better, because we just used more keywords than the competitor. So we’ve watched all the way from back then when you know, those not Blackhat, grey hat sort of tactics were you know, not not uncommon, we did a lot of that and just trying to figure out how to get Google’s attention.

But the Google algorithm now and the Google, you know, search engine has become so intelligent, and it is now able to do things like, you know, we’re we used to just take an article, and we would maybe try to get ranked for a single keyword or a single keyword phrase, the content that we might write might focus on a particular phrase, that’s changed. Now we don’t have to just do cluster articles. Now we can do cluster keywords within the same article, Google’s already ranking one single page for multiple keywords, and it’s getting more and more intelligent to do that. So I think it’s a race to always be ahead of the game to do our best to find out what Google’s you know, new new technologies are doing what how the AI is becoming more and more intelligent.

And so it’s starting to understand the human behavior a lot more things like people also searched, that you see showing up now for I think, like 48% 50% of all searches are now showing a small box below your results that says people also searched, those are places you want to be found, too, because we’re people are finding a lot of traffic going through those questions. And sometimes it’s even higher than the number one organic listing that people are punching on that people also searched, or also asked question and, and then it’s, it’s making a big, big difference there and the way people are interacting with the search engines.

So yeah, we’ve seen a lot change over the years, I I’m not what I would call a search engine optimization guru. I’m more of a founder and, and I visionary for what we do when it comes to our particular agency and here in the US. But I have kept up with SEO and search engine optimization, from a local standpoint, with the help of team members that I have, they’re a lot smarter than I am and stay on top of things a lot better than I do.

But long story short, yeah, your question. It has changed a lot. We cannot fool Google anymore as much as we used to. Now we have to follow the rules. And we have to follow the the trends that are happening with with human search and how people are finding things now. We have to really be intelligent about that. And it’s hard, hard work to get ranked these days. But it’s still possible. If you know what you’re doing. And you’re not afraid of rolling up your sleeves and doing some real life writing, putting some good effort into it.

You can still make a big difference because so few businesses are and individuals are willing to do that people are not willing still to put in the hard work it takes to rank. You can’t trick it as much as used to it’s more hard work, but it can still be done. If you really, really dig in.

Rauf Fadzillah 10:06
And and talking about the evolution of search, like, what are your thoughts on voice? Voice Search?

BG Hamrick 10:14
Well, voice search is definitely keyed around questions. So that comment I mentioned a minute ago about people also asked, those are the questions you really want to, you want to answer your questions with your content. There was a big trend probably four or five years ago, where we talked about not really creating content, but frequently asked questions or FAQ pages. Very, very popular, very powerful in search engine optimization.

And that also translates voice because people who are doing voice searching are typically asking a question, and that’s where the that’s where that’s where that algorithm goes to work looking for a particular question or a phrasing to find the right answer for you being Alexa, or Siri or Google, whoever you might be asking. It’s all the same is all question oriented.

Rauf Fadzillah 11:08
Exactly. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s the search game. I mean, it’s based around providing value, value packed answers to queries that people have, right.

BG Hamrick 11:20
100% That’s it, you really want to be authentic in your search optimization, you don’t want to try, you’re gonna honestly, we’ve learned over the years, we’ve we’ve seen competitors of ours who tried to Blackhat the system a little bit to buy new tools, or invest into the new shiny thing that’s going to get Google’s attention.

But I’ll tell you, the, the old fashioned good technical SEO, good quality content, really looking at the keyword research to see what people want to know, if you really put in the work and you do it, honestly, and you do it with integrity, you’re still going to come out on top, if you’re willing to put in the work.

I mean, if you’re gonna look for all these shortcuts, and try to cheat the system, if you put the same amount of effort into actually doing authentic and really good SEO, you’re gonna come out on top, and it’s going to organically last a lot longer. You’re you don’t have those risks that, you know, you’re gonna you’re gonna be there and you’re gonna stay there. And you’re going to be trusted by by Google when it brings back results to its searchers.

Khalid Fadzillah 12:29
Right, I think speaking about fooling Google, I think that’s something that’s happened quite a bit back in the day, I think. If we talk about, you know, the very, very beginning of the utilization of SEO on a grand scale, I think there was a lot of gray hat, black hat practices going around.

But I think I think it’s, you know, obviously, it’s a good thing that the, the algorithm basically Google is getting more intelligent, scarily intelligent, actually, I think, more advanced, and the barrier to entry is definitely on the rise. I think you do have to put in the work, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and put up put in the work.

There’s no, there’s less and less shortcuts to getting what you want to get in terms of results with SEO? And honestly, it’s a good thing, right?

BG Hamrick 13:31
I think so. I think it’s good for the searcher. Obviously, it’s good for the community who’s out there trying to use Google and the internet for you know, authentic search, they want good results. And it’s good for, you know, the business who is needing to be found you want to have that trustworthy reputation.

And I think that’s important, I think a good example of this as the the AI content writing tools that we’ve had Jarvis and the such that we’ve been focusing on the last couple of years, and now Google says AI Generated Content may not be content or

Rauf Fadzillah 14:08
It’s against the guidelines, apparently.

BG Hamrick 14:11
Exactly. Yeah. So I think it’s still a good tool to use, but I would only use it as a supplement to give for thought or research and maybe even titling is okay, but you got to be careful with that stuff. Because Google, again, like, like Kahlid said, it’s very, very smart, getting Smarter Every Day.

Rauf Fadzillah 14:29
Now, what what are your thoughts on – have you seen anything happening with local SEO in relation to the COVID pandemic?

BG Hamrick 14:41
Well, yeah, we did. I mean, obviously, searches were increased incredibly online. When it comes to local SEO people began to change their habits in the last couple of years. They were looking for less interaction with human beings to protect themselves and keep themselves healthy. And find more ability to get things virtually into their home. So all that changed.

I think some of that’s going to swing back. I think communities are going, they’re longing for, you know, interaction, again, with humans, and we want to see each other face to face, we want to get back to concerts and doing things. But some of that will come back, I think, to a balance, but I think some things have changed that will never return, I think, I think we’ve seen a really a real shift, at least here in North America on value services that are deliverable.

So we’ve seen a lot of people’s searches change from where can I go and find this to who will bring it to me, sort of searches, people are looking for more convenience. And they’re kind of they’ve trended toward that convenience. Now they’ve, they’ve accepted it, they’ve gotten used to it. And so searches have changed a bit now to where people are looking for more at home services and looking for more people who will come to them.

From pet care, to pet grooming to food being delivered to groceries being delivered, pharmacies are now delivering in the US and North America on a level they never have before. So people are still wanting to go out and be a part of a business and they interact with that business at his location. But the biggest change I’ve seen is people who are at home who want to have the convenience of having services and products brought to them. And that’s changed the search algorithm a bit there.

Rauf Fadzillah 16:35
Anything to add there?

Khalid Fadzillah 16:38
Yeah, right. Yeah, I think the rise in in convenience, demand for convenience is definitely a trend that we’re seeing right now, post COVID. In fact, I think you want to call them convenient services. We’ve seen a couple of them, we were speaking to a guest that we had some time ago on the same podcast. He’s based here in Malaysia as well, but East Malaysia, and he, he started off with –

Rauf Fadzillah 17:09
He made a lot of money. He set up groceries for the east of Malaysia, which is basically I don’t know if you know much about our country, but But basically, um, a lot of development is like concentrated in like the west of Malaysia, I think.

So we have our capital here and things like this a little bit like New York City, and it’s called called Kuala Lumpur. Okay. So and on the East Coast, we have lot like rural we have, we have some, like tribal people and tribal communities and things like that, I think you might have something similar in the US. Certainly very rural areas. So he set up a grocery delivery thing, right for the east of Malaysia, and he made a lot of money during the pandemic.

Khalid Fadzillah 17:52
And, again, focusing on the local side of things. So I think he did utilize a little, quite a bit of SEO as well, mostly commerce related strategies for his storefront. But I think he realized he was he was talking about how he relied initially, especially on the the aspect of SEO, creating content that was well established for the local community that he was targeting.

So specifically East Malaysia, not West Malaysia, because West Malaysia was quite competitive at the time. There were a lot of very big names in terms of deliveries and convenience services. So we have a lot of big brands over here in West Malaysia. So it was pretty tricky for him to get entry into this market.

So he basically stood his ground in the local community that he was in the East. And he he basically dominated that market. So yeah, I think that that’s something that is quite relevant for this discussion as well.

BG Hamrick 18:57
Yeah, we watched rural areas here in the US that were not quite as popular for things like GrubHub and DoorDash. And other you know, home delivery services, there’s one called Instacart, it’s pretty big, but they could not get, they could not gain ground in some of the rural areas. They didn’t have enough drivers or delivery folks.

But when the pandemic hit, it became a necessity for people to be able to get that stuff. So they began to really step up their game and now in the US, I think the rural areas sometimes are more dependent upon the services than even some of the bigger city areas. Therefore, searches have changed for for what people are looking for. They will combine that service with delivery in a lot of local search optimization.

Rauf Fadzillah 19:50
So so any any plans to expand Have you been to our country? Have you been to Malaysia, Southeast Asia?

BG Hamrick 19:59
No, I have not

Rauf Fadzillah 20:00
Maybe one day.

BG Hamrick 20:02
Yeah, hope to one day.

Rauf Fadzillah 20:04
Yeah, so like, but but do you have any plans to like business wise to expand like internationally?

BG Hamrick 20:13
Not at this point at this point we’re pretty focused on on the US market, we may branch out into north of us into Canada perhaps but we’re, we’re pretty much a US based. And we’re, you know, we’re a relatively we’re not a small agency, but we’re not the largest agency you’re gonna find in the US.

But we like we like our industry, we like our niche, we have narrowed it down pretty deep now two rivers, windows, siding, replacement on homes, maybe some HVAC, plumbing, that that sort of situation, we, we really love that it’s a sweet spot for our particular agency, we love working with those professional home services, guys and girls, and they do good work for good people.

And it’s a good strong industry. It’s a blue collar working force that we we like to work with here. But we were also a general agency, we have a lot of attorneys and, you know, different services that are provided as well, a lot of nonprofits. But at this point, we’re pretty focused on on the US to, to be honest,

Rauf Fadzillah 21:19
I think that, I mean, I really like how you focused in and like you said, found a niche, like with, and I feel that local services like plumbing, you know, looking for electrician, and things like this, these are very suitable for search right?

BG Hamrick 21:36
Very much so, very much so. So they, they’re very highly searched both for an emergency situation. And they are also very highly searched for long term service contracts, just to keep maintenance upon your home. It’s your biggest investment in most cases for most people, and they spent a lot of money doing it. And like you said, it’s a very search searched topic and industry.

And on top of that, if an agency can also provide some lead optimization, some conversion optimization, it’s a win win. So not only do the leads come, but you figure out how to capture those leads faster for that particular client. And you optimize their website or landing pages for better conversion or quicker conversion for better appointment setting and so forth. It’s going to it’s going to be a real big win.

And that’s what – that’s the part we love. That’s that’s what we’ve become good at, we really enjoy that we accelerate the whole process of buyer to the business as fast as possible to get them set up on an appointment. And, and that’s, that’s the part we like, and that sets us apart makes us a little unique from other agencies in our local area.

Rauf Fadzillah 22:47
Although like for me, like you know, searching for a plumber or searching for electrician, those kinds of like demand based like searching for this practitioner right now. Like, I hope to rank organically against because I’m I’m pretty sure that the front page is like plastered with ads, right? It’s like PPC, PPC. Right. So like, how like, what are your thoughts on that? I mean, like organic versus PPC, you know, in that niche?

BG Hamrick 23:14
Yeah, I think both I think I think our favorite mix is PPC, some sort of Google ad for that particular industry. Some sort of Google Ad followed up by retargeting Facebook, or something else TikTok. We’re experimenting with quite a bit at our agency also figuring out what that looks like for for search results.

Yeah, I think I think there are two types of people out there. Obviously, there’ll be those agencies who will tell you that you should focus only on organic because that’s what they do. Others will say you need to focus on paid because that’s what they do. We do both. We think there are people out there in the search world that are searching, and they’re going to trust organic, and they’re also going to trust paid, just depends on the searcher and what their need is and what their experience has been.

So our recommendation is always to be found both in a paid campaign be competitive there. And also be found organically so that people who only trust organic results will feel better about that, of course, the local SEO with the maps and the three pack is is vital because about 50 or 60% of people who are getting business now are getting it through that that that three pack listing that that Google Business Profile listing. That’s where it’s happening now, because that’s where you find the trust. It’s where you find the reviews, that’s where you find the phone numbers and the office hours.

The challenge is how do you respond to those leads quick enough and when they get to your Google Business Page when they get to your website when they get to your landing page when they get to your social media. You better have a click here to get a calendar appointment booked with us. To keep that searcher it stops that searcher in their tracks, keeps them from going to the next result, which is number 2, 3, 4, 5 down there. page or whatever it might be, when you capture them and they’ve set an appointment, you’ve stopped the searcher in their tracks, and you’ve closed up that sale a lot faster.

Statistics show in the US if you’re not, if you don’t get a reply back in the first five minutes, then you are likely to lose that to the next competitor who has on that search result.

Rauf Fadzillah 25:21
Yeah, like, for me, I think that like, like, like what you said about home renovation, right? Like, like, let’s say, I’m looking for someone to do a very big project on my pool, for example, right? That may the consideration stage maybe it’s longer, you know, buyer journey, maybe it’s longer this consideration is looking at articles as the you know, it takes a little bit longer. Whereas like, if you have like, Oh, my lights don’t work right now, I gotta get electrician in right now, because I’m sitting in the dark, right there two different, you know, buyer journeys, correct.

BG Hamrick 25:54
Right, exactly. That’s why you want to create that that authority and trust for that top of funnel searcher who’s just now beginning to read articles to find out what kind of pool they want, or what kind of pool additions that they want, when they start reading those articles and start asking those questions, whether it’s through voice or whether it’s through people also after section, you want to make sure you know what those questions are people are asking, fill your website and your content with those really valuable pieces of information.

So that you capture that that searcher right at the top of the funnel right at the very beginning of their, of their buyer journey in their stage. And you can carry them all the way through the middle of the funnel down to the bottom, which is only about 3% at the bottom. And that’s what we’re all fighting overs to get that 3% to convert to us.

But if you can get them at the top, you’ll get their trust, and they’ll follow you all the way through when it’s time to make a decision as to what sort of pool repair person I want to get what kind of pool company I want. I’ve seen you for months and months or weeks and weeks. And so I trust you already. You’ve already given me all the information I need when I’m ready to buy. You’re the one I choose.

Rauf Fadzillah 26:57
Awesome, awesome. So yeah, that’s that’s, that’s very interesting. And could you just let our listeners know where they can find you online? What’s your website URL?

BG Hamrick 27:07
Absolutely they can get us at localimpactagency.com. localimpactagency.com And of course our social media all matches that and we’d love to love to chat and help folks as we can.

Rauf Fadzillah 27:20
Awesome, thank you very much. Thank you for being with us. So Kahlid you got anything to add to that?

Khalid Fadzillah 27:29
No, I think you’ve pretty much covered everything really great job explaining everything comprehensively. So I think I’m out of questions

Rauf Fadzillah 27:38
Lots of experience there and local SEO so thank you my friend. Thank you. Thank you for joining us.

BG Hamrick 27:43
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. Have a good day.

Rauf Fadzillah 27:46
Okay, thank you, bye.

Khalid Fadzillah 27:48

Rauf Fadzillah 28:00
Does information have a weight? And what about information that we pass on that we absorb and then send to others? Profound right. So when we talk about the need for information, the need to connect with information, not this touchy feely need to connect with people this cliche connect with people storytelling, and the other jargon that branding people might shove your way. Rather the beauty of logical organized relevant information. I say it’s time for a more rational approach to branding. Not an emotional one. Put your feelings aside. Provide value through information.