109. Steven Willi, Rankings.io The Holy Trinity of SEO

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For nearly two decades Steven Willi has commanded first page Google rankings for Personal Injury Attorneys. President at Rankings.oi, Steven and the Rankings team relentlessly secure top-ranked spots for keywords that convert.

Personal Injury is hands down the most competitive industry. To dominate your niche, you need to know exactly what it takes to bring in major cases. Today Steven and I cover the SEO strategy needed for firms with aggressive growth targets.

Whats In This Episode

  • Who is Steven Willi?
  • How Steven up-leveled his SEO game through self-guided learning and coaching
  • The importance of the holy trinity of SEO: content, links, and onsite SEO
  • The most important factors in creating content with great Click-Through Rates
  • How to refresh your existing content library to get rankings
  • Best practices for onsite SEO and link building

Transcript

Steven Willi

PPC, LSAs are like putting up a billboard on a week to week billboard that you’re paying for SEO is like buying the land, putting up your own billboard and you have it, it’s your property. I’m a big proponent of running all digital channels. if you’re a client of ours, you’re running, LSAs, you’re running PPC. You’re in the map pack, and then you hit organic,
Chris Dreyer

Targeting your ideal clients and ranking number one in Google requires dynamic digital marketing strategies.
Steven Willi

As a user, if I’m typing in car accident, lawyer, even if you’re two or three, hopefully you’re number one. You’ve indoctrinated that user four times by the time that they’ve hit organic, which massively increases the CTR, they’ve driven by your billboard four times before they’re, getting to the spot where they want to click and they recognize that name.
Chris Dreyer

You’re listening to personal injury mastermind the show where elite personal injury attorneys and leading-edge marketers give you exclusive access to grow strategies for your firm. Few people understand SEO strategy for personal injury lawyers than my boy, Steven Willie president at Rankings.io Stephen and the Rankings team have doubled leads, triple client volume and consistently secure first page rankings for personal injury attorneys nationwide. I’m your host, Chris Dreyer, founder and CEO of Rankings.io. We help elite personal injury attorneys dominate first-page rankings with search engine optimization. Being at the forefront of marketing is all about understanding people. So let’s get to know our guests here. Stephen Willie president at Rankings.io
Steven Willi

So 2000, probably six, 2007. I was working as a web developer for a water bottle manufacturer. So it was doing sales, which I was going door to door. And Hey, you want to buy some water, which is a great way of, if you have an inhibition about talking to people quickly get over that. So I was producing the water. I was printing the labels. I was doing the web development. I was doing the marketing was doing it all. So I didn’t get this SEO thing. and this was the wild west of SEO, mid 2000s ish. And so we went to Barnes & Noble I bought a book called beginner’s guide to SEO. It’s green. I can picture it still on my desk at home, started reading that it was basically just H1s, right? Put your H1s then your H2s and then your title tag or whatever, it didn’t really get into epi. And then anything after that, I started incorporating that into my freelance gig. So I was doing, I was, it started out as a designer. I was doing websites after websites staying up till three, four o’clock in the morning. And I would pitch myself this, all of these are SEO, optimized websites, but really, I didn’t know. Until that one dark night, Sesser Illinois and a dive bar. And you like telling the story, go ahead.
Chris Dreyer

It’s funny. We had a mutual acquaintance and we went to a birthday party and So I’m a little bit introverted and it’s hard to talk to people that I knew who you were through acquaintances, but I’m like, what do you do for work? And you’re like, oh, I do digital. And I’m like, oh, I do SEO. You said I do websites.we had this common interest in basically Stephen started freelancing and doing website design. He was a creative director. He did a lot of stuff for his ABC NBC.
Steven Willi

ABC NBC, CBS specifically the Olympics a lot of stuff. Yeah. Yeah.
Chris Dreyer

Very experienced in. And he was side-gig, side hustle, working for attorney rankings at the time. And w which was the original before we rebrand into rankings. And I remember I made him that offer and it, he was super nervous, but we signed, I think, five clients that first week,
Steven Willi

six clients that week.Yeah. To give people context. I had a secure job as creative director at another rates agency had a relatively large design team under me. We were about to have my first son within 30 days any quick. So I was super nervous. was like, oh, did I make the right decision? I’m pretty sure I did. And then that week six clients met.
Chris Dreyer

Yeah. And it’s been crazy. We’ve just been on this massive growth trajectory and just, we’ve had all these different experiences and how SEO has evolved over the years and how focused we’ve been on SEO. Let’s talk about, the things that you’ve done through the organization, through yourself to develop not only your technical hard skills, but also like your leadership and management skills as well.
Steven Willi

Absolutely. So I think going through starting the company and being there from day before day one, really, it’s excitement and it’s chaos on that launch-pad. I remember the days where you and I were working out of an office in St. Louis side-by-side, doing all kinds of stuff. And then, so a lot of that was a, we were throwing, I was thrown in the fire right. So I had to scramble and continuously learn and watch videos and listen to podcasts. Podcasts was a real big thing back then, but there was still, media out there to better me at my craft. A lot of specifically the SEO stuff I had people like. I had people like Brian Dean, that I would read and then, and then apply that. And it’s amazing once you read these things that are still kind of nebulous tutorial, Lish, and apply it to your craft and see, Hey, it works, and it registers with you and it makes you more hungry and gets that snowball effect. In regards to, the business and personal aspect of it. I went to school for. I have a fine art degree. It wasn’t a business major, a lot of this stuff we learned on the fly, but a lot of this, I got through coaching, right? I have I was in Southwestern consulting sales training. I’m in Vistage. Vistage is a group of local businesses. I worked out in here at St. Louis. I have a group of 20 people that I meet with monthly. I have one tomorrow. We discuss things, problems that we run into. We have speakers come in, said it’s a great community. I’m a relationship guy. So I like establishing that connection with people because it makes it’s everything, the issues in the both negative and positive that they go through. I can apply to our business and it makes it more relevant. It was in COO Alliance with Cameron Herold. If you talk to me. Over 30 minutes, Cameron, Harold is going to get brought up a big fan of. COO Alliance is a is a group specifically for number twos. So I’m your number two, right? And there’s a, it’s a weird fit because it’s a lonely position sometimes not lonely emotionally, but it’s such a different position than it. Can’t relate or correlate to a lot of the other, two coworkers to everything else. So having that outlet and saying, Hey, I went through this too. It’s not knowing. Everyone goes through similar issues, but there, they may come from different locations. And so I can’t say enough good things about COO wise EOS, we’re an entrepreneurial operating system, EOS based company. We have an implementer, James Ashcroft, who I believe you’ve had on the podcast, absolute stud. So as we’ve taken that journey together, both you, our company and me personally learning from him, it’s been a game changer. And lastly, I think. Here at our agency, everyone has the opportunity for coaching training. We have our operational people have operational coaches. Our salespeople have sales coaches, our SEO people have SEO coaches. And I think a large portion of, how I’ve up to my game is, yeah, I have coaches, I have this personal development, but a lot of that comes from our team. If they learn something, I learned something. They tell it to me. I don’t, I think it’s a terrifying thing to assume that everything. So if I can grow. And help grow them. Certainly our employees and coworkers, but if they can help grow me, man, that’s awesome. It’s that symbiotic relationship. That’s just, it’s a fantastic thing. And that’s why I love working here.
Chris Dreyer

Yeah. And one of the things you said right at the beginning is the execution, right? You can read a lot of books. You can, we had John Gomez on a former episode and he was talking about how there are a lot of trial books, but you have to get in the ring. Try cases and to be great at SEO, you have to do SEO. And so because of our focus and because we specialize in SEO, that’s what we’re doing day in and day out. And this brings us to the next topic. And we’re going to talk about state of SEO in 2022. But before we get into that, why SEO versus other channels?
Steven Willi

That’s a good question. So you covered this on last week’s podcast with Seth. Okay. You had a really good answer. It’s you’re building an asset, right? Any paid media is, and I love paid media. I think they, I think that they mutually paid and organic mutually benefit each other. And I’ll get into that in a second. But you’re still running. It’s not yours after you stopped paying. Whereas look whereas organic or SEO it’s, there is a buildup period. You’re not just turning on that faucet. Whereas PPC turn on the faucet cases com sEO is going to take six, nine months, sometimes longer, sometimes quicker. If it, if everything’s set up correctly, but once that faucets. The pressure is a lot more, you’re going to get a lot more cases. The CTR, which is click through rate for organic results is still even with LSA, significantly higher than any paid media. Right now, let’s say it’s did take a chunk out of it, right? It is a, nothing bad to say about us or OSA’s, but organic local, and, the organic syrup is still the way to go establishes more trust. Right. There there is a subconscious level of thought within a user that they, number one, number two, number three, regardless of their skill set is best. Even before I started doing this stuff, I didn’t, I knew what this was. I always picked organic. And that’s what we’re seeing through the data of what the users. My mentality about that is PPC LSAs are like putting up a billboard on a week to week billboard that you’re paying for SEO is like buying the land, putting up your own billboard and you have it, it’s your property now Getting into that mutualism where they all work together. Im a big proponent of running all channels, digital channels. So if you were a, if you’re a client of ours, you’re running, LSAs, you’re running PPC. You’re in the map pack, and then you hit organic, right? As a user, if I’m typing in car accident, lawyer, even if you’re two or three, hopefully you’re number one. You’ve indoctrinated that user four times by the time that they’ve hit organic, which massively increases the CTR, they’ve driven by your billboard four times before they’re, getting to the spot where they want to click and they recognize that name. And so it’s I’m a huge proponent of multichannel marketing. Specifically digital.
Chris Dreyer

Yeah. It’s so interesting. Stephen, you say that too, and it’s attribution becomes murky, right? It’s just, people want to tie direct attribution to SEO or to. Pay-per-click and it’s difficult because if you’re building a brand, you may be seen, you may be indoctrinated multiple times before you actually make a conversion. And then who actually gets the attribution at the end. I’m a big proponent as you are for omni-channel marketing and not only that. When you rank an organic page, you can rank for thousands of that keyword and imagine paying for thousands of click on pay-per-click. It’s just, those high intent phrases, we’re talking about massive amounts of money. So there’s a place for all of it. And I liked that it is an asset that kind of grows over time that you got out, you got to water it with content and links, and we’re going to talk about all that, So we had Mark Anderson. On an earlier episode, he’s he talked about the holy Trinity of marketing for law firms is TV, radio, and digital. And we’re going to talk about the holy Trinity of SEO, which is content on-site SEO and links. So let’s start with content and I’m going to put the soft ball up in the air for you first, when it comes to content, making an impact, when it comes to SEO, what are you?
Steven Willi

I think of a lot of people, let me back it up. Cause this is going to be a big answer. So content, when it comes to SEO, certainly you need keyword saturation. You need keyword, density needs to be optimized with all, it doesn’t even have to be all the bells and whistles as long as it answers the user’s query. Brian Dean came out with a skyscraper technique where, when we started 2013, 500 works and then went to a thousand and then it went to 12,000 or 1200 and then 2000 and 6,000, 14,000. Now all of a sudden 14,000 words, you’re not answering the users. What it looks like it’s the equip, 14, 20,000 words. And I’ve seen stuff like that big it’s like a med students doctoral dissertation, right? When you’re getting into all the granularities of how you can break a bone or have a TBI when all of that and that info is great the cluster content out there to support that. But, I don’t think that as long as you focus on answering the user’s query in long form, at minimum 2000 words, but do I think you need 20,000 words? But I do think, anywhere from two to 10,000 words to specifically answer that uterus query. Andy with good well-written well thought out content, anything with passage ranking that came out two Decembers ago. There’s a lot of, you can subdivide long-form content into specific micro queries. How to hire a car accident, lawyer blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. That can all still be on the transactional page as well as why you should have a higher car accident lawyer. here’s why you should hire us specifically. This is it’s a a stressful time, you know what I mean? And as long as you’re answering that user’s query and your content is better . And better is a subjective term, but I think everybody knows then your competitors your good. And then you can do backfill it with onsite and keyword optimization and things like that. But that’s my mentality about content is answer the user’s query.
Chris Dreyer

Rather than subscribing to a certain length of content, the content should provide value and answer consumer intent refreshing the existing library of content into your site is essential to a winning digital strategy. I asked Steven how to effectively leverage a content refresh
Steven Willi

So this one I’m passionate about. There’s very few things that have this large of an impact within a content strategy and content refreshes. So to let the listeners know what a content refresh is you’re going back in your archive. If you’ve had a website that’s been around since 2014 and you’ve continually produced content since 2014, you have this massive library that you can leverage. So when you, what we call it internally is refreshing content. We’re leveraging historic success. Right. And so refresh a refresh. Google constantly wants you to be the most relevant to show. They want you to show them that you’re continually trying to improve your text or copy, or your website in general. So content refreshes do a lot of things. So let me back up and say, let me walk you through. What would happen if we came, had a new client, right? So we have a new client they’ve got 400 blocks. Now this is all imaginary. I’m just walking you through. We’re going to fill that content strategy out for the next six months, depending on what we see in the caps. We look at distracted driving, oh, we should produce a distracted driving page or blog. It has, keyword search volume. It does match users intent. We can, it’s an informational piece. We can fill blanks, whatever. But now looking back in that site map, and I see that they’ve done eight distracted driving, and their total job, it’s stuff. Hasn’t been since 2014. None of those ranked maybe one did in 2016. So what I’ll do is I’ll take Ahrefs as a tool. It’s an SEO tool that you can measure success. The page, there are multiple factors, but I’ll take all of those eight pages and I’ll plug them into the tool and see what was the best page historically, that Google liked. So I can see, oh, this page had traffic in 2016 and then it started dyng down. . Had that down. We’re still, it looks like a ski slope and then it just drops off. So instead of producing a new page, I’m going to pull that page. Cause I already happened. That’s an asset that I have. I’m going to refresh it by 15 to 30%. I’m going to change the publish date to 2021. Cause that’s important. Let me ask you this. Cause we’ve had these discussions. If you’re looking something up and it’s really. And you’re stressed out and you see you’re greeted with three articles and you click on the first one and that article has post date of 2016. Do you use it?

Chris Dreyer

No. And I can tell you this exact situation happened recently, or my wife was experiencing, being dizzy and nauseous. we Googled, we’re seeing if I see a 2016, I’m not reading that every in 2021,

Steven Willi

For sure. Yeah. And so within that you can take that page, which the URL slug, which is the permanent link has provenance. It has existed since 2016. It has age on it. It has been crawled before. It’s not a new page that we’re putting out there that we have to wait for the crawl at forced to crawl through all these different there’s different ways you can do that. We can get into, another. But we’re leveraging the provenance of that 2016 page. And so what we found is 15 to 30% update statistics, change the page or, send an editor in there to improve the content itself. Like the, as far as from an editorial perspective, update the publish date and that’s going to force a re-crawl and so what we found a hundred percent of the time is that pop, I was talking about it 2016, that is slowly down, it rises again. And typically, because since we’re leveraging that historic value of the page, Google says, oh, we recognize this right. We crawled this before. And then that, that traffic typically exceeds what happened in 2016. Solely ’cause we’re trying to show Google. We’re improving. And a lot of people will write, move on, move on. Move on. And I wouldn’t give a library of assets that you can utilize all day.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. And particularly in the, you hear your money, your life niche, which is legal. You hear. Eat, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness will. If the contents been refreshed it’s more trustworthy. The other thing I like about that, I heard a story recently, or I watched the video recently with Matt Diggity and Kyle Roof, and he was talking, Kyle Roof was talking about how he was hired by Boeing to improve their rankings. And he went in and he saw that they had a lot of great content. It just wasn’t refreshed and they wasn’t internally linked properly. And he did that and they automatically ranked on the first page of Google and then Boeing fired him because he wasn’t producing new content or producing links and he was upset, but they already had the assets. And so many of you listening, who’ve been doing SEO for a long time. You probably got some great assets and it’s needs a little bit of love. They needed refreshing and needed a little better. Internal linking. Maybe you plug them into a tool like, Surfer SEO, or MarketViews, or an Ahrefs or a SEM rush to improve the keyword optimization. But a lot of times those refreshes as what you need to do for the content strategy, particularly if you’ve got content, that’s like a guide where it uses the actual year. So we have some situations where it’ll say like the ultimate guide of 2021, where he updated to the 2022 the consumer is more likely to click on that. And it’s just so incredibly important. Tons of content that answers consumer intent. That’s refreshed. You want to have a giant library that can help your consumer to keep them on your site. And. Let’s kick over it onsite. Let’s kick over onsite. So when it comes to onsite SEO, that means optimizing the website, you hear a lot of phrases, like on-page SEO, your technical SEO, your architecture, your core web vitals, what’s it take to rank? What are the main impact items for onsite SEO?

Steven Willi

For sure. So in regards to let’s get core web vitals first, right? Core web vitals was developed via lighthouse and a few years ago to establish we’ve all heard fast site, make sure you got a fast site. Now there was page speed insights, which kind of torque things down a muzzle things. And it wasn’t ness.

It was a good indication of a fast quote unquote fast site, but didn’t actually tell you what you were doing long term. So we’re core vitals established as a hard or static metric that can Google connection will measure against, oh, the take this takes too long to load X there’s too much JavaScript here, the preload here, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so we actually can see what Google is taking a look at now. Arguably. If I were to look in at Los Angeles right now, a lot of those guys for car accident, lawyer, which is for the keyword car accident lawyer, a lot of those guys don’t have the fastest sites. So there’s ways to overpower that FIA, what we’ll get into later. But I would say core vitals is make sure. You’ve have a make sure you’re not loading junk, slim down your site and make it lasers. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So anything that loads like that in the background that maybe the user isn’t impacted by that even if it’s like a one second load, if it’s not caustic to the user Google’s still going to look at that. And so those metrics that they’re displaying is not, you shouldn’t ignore them hop into your Google search com. They have a page experience. They list all of their core vitals there. That’s what we look at. If something slows down, something gets a little red, something gets a little yellow, we immediately turn it green. So in, and by doing that, there’s all different types of plugins that you can use. If you’ve stripped your website down to the bare minimum and ripped out all the junk, but you can’t get it any faster. There are plugins, Kopech, nitrate. Pegasus is a good one that you can install, do some configuration, and then it pops you up into what Google sees is a fast site. Ancillary building off of that. If your site is actually slow specifically on mobile, those users are dropping. If you’re looking something up and at least I have a bias, right? If I’m looking something up and something’s taken four or five seconds to load I’m out, because that tells me they don’t care. You know what I mean? They don’t, they, that they’re not actively trying to improve. They’re not actively trying to do anything. And if I’m thinking that how much more is Google thinking. And then, so if you have your average user, they’re not waiting that long and they’re stressed out. If they’d been just been in an accident, do they want to wait six seconds for a phone number to load? No, they’re going to the number two spot at that point.

Chris Dreyer

Easily measurable tactics like load speed will help your site climb in the ranks. However, even the fastest sites require a curated structure for Google search. I asked Steven about internal links and the role they play in elevating the ranking of a website.

Steven Willi

I look at links as like door. So if I’m walking down a hallway and I’m reading your article, and this is going to be a weird analogy. If I’m walking down a hallway and I see a door with a name on a car somewhere, I’m going to assume that behind that door, there’s something about car accident lawyers, right? And so this, what is what a link is to me. So the link is a way for Google to walk down that hallway and see these doors that are labeled nice and clean for them. So they can contextually say, oh, you know what, there’s car accident, lawyer content behind here. And they can crawl into that. So what links is, or what internal links is also a way to spread link equity or. Kind of capture or co cultivate, how or sorry, curate how Google will crawl a site. So if I have a blog page and the blog page is in a T-bone accident, right? It’s decent content. And I have a few links on inter incoming links to that particular page. You use this example that links are like pipes as well. And I love that. I love that example. So through that page and I have a T-bone accident, and if I don’t have any internal links on that page, all of that equity from those links, all of the power or the link juice is holed up in that page. There’s nowhere to go. That has header, navs and things like that, but it doesn’t have any contextual links. So within that T-bone accident, I’m now going to put, drop an internal link that says a car. Or Philadelphia car similar or Atlanta car accident, lawyer. And behind that’s a door with a label on it. And yeah, keep going up in there.

Chris Dreyer

I gotta hit the door analogy because I really, you take on a site and behind door number one should be car exit lawyer, but there’s nothing worse than when you open the door and then you’re on the motorcycle landing page
Steven Willi

oh, I hate it, I hate it. Or you’re on the homepage, right?
Chris Dreyer

That’s one big issue is the anchor text is not going to a relevant page. The other issue is there’s more doors. So like this tremendous car accident or bottom of the funnel intent page. And then there’s this. Right where you have a blog, there’s no internal links. What are you doing? You need to keep them on your site. You need to have these internal links to get up, keep them engaged on the other pages as your website.

Steven Willi

Yeah. If the users cannot navigate into those doors, how are you going to ask? How are you gonna expect Google to. It’s not right. Maybe through some back channel from another page, but you are not benefiting. If you are not, don’t do appropriate internal link optimization. So internal links, you can do the exact match, a car, some lawyer, Chicago, a car somewhere, but then you can do like phrase messed stuff like injured and next. Stuff like LSI based type stuff. The thin kind of captures all of this wide array of keywords. And, it’s basically just doors, with those keywords on it, that all relate kick back to that individual place in Google reads that anchor text. And so that’s how that they structure. That’s how they structure what something is. So if you’re walking through that door, like you just mentioned, the car is similar and I hit a motorcycle page. It’s going to confuse the crap out of me as a user and imagine what Google is. And that’s called a landing page. That’s when landing page confusion happens or when you’re not leveraging that crawl or that link equity flow which is when a link comes in and you’re flowing that juice throughout your entire site, powering everything up. You can’t that point.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. And this is a major issue and I, we’re getting in the weeds here, but this is a major issue when you have multiple cities and multiple states. And you try to internally link car accident, lawyer Google’s ranking the wrong page. Say in new Orleans, when it should be ranking maybe a different page, maybe. Baton Rouge it’s because you don’t have your architecture and internally links sculpted properly. Don’t have those doors go into the correct locations. So new Orleans PI should link. Any of you talk about cars should link to new Orleans car. It’s, everything should be contextual, relevant, categorized. I don’t want to beat it with we hit, we’re hitting us over the head with a mallet, but this is what influences UX. It helps consumers answers. We got to hit title tags really quick before we move on the links. So a title tag, best practices. Let’s talk.
Steven Willi

Yeah. So tell tech breasts best practices. I would do put your base slug in there, what you want to rank for. So we’ll use Philadelphia car accident, lawyer, and then I’ll let, you’ll see the pipe or Philadelphia car accident attorney, and you’ll see the pipe. And then nine times out of 10, there’s going to be a branded X from Philadelphia car example. Pipe from Nate. Don’t do that. You’re going to rank for your name anyway. So what we’ve been doing lately is putting empathy pulls. And what I mean by empathy pools is Philadelphia. Car accident. Lawyer will get you through this Philadelphia car accident, lawyer.You’re on our side, Philadelphia car accident, lawyer. We’ll take care of you we’ll treat you like family. And so by dating those sympathy bulls, no, you’re not going to rank for keywords. Like we’ll treat you like family. But what that does it w what that impacts is assume you were in the third position, and you’re ranking a Philadelphia car or somewhere, and then you have that title tag of we’ll get you through this. And that’s displaying in. If I’m a car accident, but you have this spit to, to be clear that you have this character amount that you can put within a tough tech. Why take it up with your firm name, if your firm name is going to rent board in, and so by using it for your firm name, unless it’s…
Chris Dreyer

There is no competition for your firm name.
Steven Willi

For sure. For sure. And I think, and so by the, by using these empathy pools, It doesn’t necessarily have an impact on organic rankings per se. But what it does do is if I’m super stressed out, I was just in a car accident or one of my family was just in a car accident and I see blank car accident, lawyer, firm name blank, car scent, lawyer firm name. Blank car accident, lawyer. We’ll treat you like family. We’ll get you through this. What am I clicking on? I’m clicking on that third result. If I can see it, what that does is it impacts CTR. It’s called the click-through rate. It is the amount of impressions. Compared to the amount of clicks. So if you’re getting a thousand impressions or I’m viewing your listing or your result within Google, a thousand times, it is the ratio of how many times a user clicks on you compared to everyone else. And CTR. It’s an indicator for Google for to increase you and to increase your disability. And so by you had the ancillary benefit of more CTR, but that CTR feeds into that ranking factor, which is going to kick you up the pipe. And that’s something that we’ve been doing a lot of lately and we’ve had crazy results. Another thing that I’d be remiss is within the legal field dependent on your bar, stay away from superlatives. You can’t say best, you can’t say dependent on what your bar regulation state. So some bars are totally. Experts is another big one. And so be very careful when you’re talking about modify or when you get into modifiers within keywords, because it can be a slippery slope depending on what you tag on it.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. Nevada is a little bit more lenient than say Florida and Texas is very stringent too, but, and there are ways that you can use taglines, you can use, no wind, no fee there’s other ways to. Incorporate additional words and phrases to capture a click through, but it’s important to experiment and not to be generic, to be different, to automatically stand out. And 100% of thing I’ll say is one last thing before we move on to link building, which I know everyone’s going to want to talk or hear about is be careful using vanity or phone numbers in your titles or in your meta descriptions. Because think about this, if you type in car accident, And there are the top three search results and you see a phone number and the consumer doesn’t click on your website and they just call the phone number. Google may not serve that result because consumers aren’t engaging in interacting with it. And Google may think that’s not a good queer, a good result for that query. So it’s really important. Absolutely. Use vanity numbers. Absolutely use phone numbers but use them on your website, use them on traditional media, use them on these other external areas, but not on Google in Google, meta descriptions and not entitled tags because it impacts CCR in a negative fashion. So that’s the opposite of what not that’s what not to do. So let’s go to the big number three, let’s talk about link building. Let’s hit up, what makes a good link.

Steven Willi

So if I’m building a link, I look at relevancy . First right. If I am an attorney, do I want a, do I want a review site for dog food? I don’t write that makes it doesn’t make any well, if, either the dog bite. Yeah, that’s true. If it’s a dog bite, that’s true. That’s a bad you have to pay attention to the context and relevance of any link. If 90% of your links are coming from stuff that are not legal sites. I think you need, you have to revisit that strategy because Google reads all of that. They can tell the relevant. I’m also looking at traffic and age. So there’s something in the SEO world called Dr. We’re domain rating, which is an Ahrefs metric too. It looks at the overall authority or power or website, that can be kind of faked I mean it, it can. So w what I typically look at is even beyond that, Dr. Is traffic. If traffic is coming into a site and it’s organic, healthy traffic, that shows me that it is a legitimate site that I want to learn. So I look at that relevancy. I look at, is it a legal site? Is it something that it doesn’t have to be legal site? And the dog food example was a great right. If they have something specifically about, it can be a tertiary or secondary site that addresses another topic that contextually can tie back to. That’s a really good point that you just dropped on us. And then I’m going to look at non-sponsored content. So about a year and a half ago, Google a year ago, maybe somewhere around that Google came out with like non sponsored texts, which immediately, if it’s essentially paid placements to beat, to be on a on a website. And if you have that sponsored car, It’s you’re basically throwing your money down a rat hole, or you’re throwing your time down a raffle because you get no benefit off of that maybe a little bit, but it devalues it significantly where it is not worth your time. I’m then going to look at placement of the link, right? Ideally any link should have a, a good anchor on it. A good relevant anchor like cars, similar injured, an accident, a branded anchor. We can get into all of the anchor stuff in a minute. But ideally I’d like to have that fantastic link is above the fold. It’s contextual. It can be somewhere mid content conor mid content I should correct myself. As long as it makes sense, if it’s about a, if it’s about a totally different subject and I’m sliding in that Philadelphia car somewhere or New York car accident, lawyer just in there and it makes zero sense. It’s not gonna make any sense to google. So that’s what I mean by placement. And there’s a lot of other metrics, but I think those are the big ones that I look at.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. And so authority, you want to healthy, you want to link from a healthy site, if a site’s linking out to, gambling and coroner related sites, you don’t want to be in the same neighborhood. You want it in a good neighborhood that Google favors, that site, that’s where the organic traffic comes in. Also the anchor text, which I don’t know how heavy I want to hit the anchor texting, but the key thing here is relevancy, right? So if you have a keyword on a blog article that, and it just doesn’t make any sense when the consumer clicks on that there, and they go to your website, they’re immediately going to bounce. Why would they even click on that anchor? If it’s not relevant. So it’s for all of those reasons, gotta pay important attention to context and. Let’s get to the next one. So we hear this. So often it’s oh, you guys just do a lot of work on the front end and then you’re done, you fix your website, build a little blue links, and then we’re done. When can I reduce my budget? When can I do those types of things? So how many links Steven? What’s the answer? Where do we go here in terms of link volume?

Steven Willi

Entirely dependent on your competition always have more than your competition, right? If you’re coming, if you’re a new site and you have 20 links and you’re like, Hey, I want to get in that top spot. But that top spot has 600 referring domains in the second spot. 583. I’m going to say, Hey, you need it at least that much. And then we’ll go in and surgically apply the big dogs. It’s basically like links are like climbing a mountain. So it is a. As you build more and more links. Google looks at that as you’re powering up your website, you’ve used the analogy of boats before, so building links I, and I love that analogy, but although it’s like the electoral college, all votes aren’t equal. And so you can have a low level link or 10 low-level links or five low-level links and one really good one. And I take that really good link all day. But the tip is to balance that act of, okay, catch up to everybody else and then come over top, with those really heavy hitting either local or highly relevant, Heidi, our websites. So we look at it that way is close the gap. And then build it on top and I’m not talking necessarily skyscraper. But just to keep going, I never liked pulling back. If you were in a race, would you and you were winning, would you take off your shoes and then just keep running? I wouldn’t keep going then.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. I’m going to sound a little grant card and grant Cardones care but I don’t want just more links.

I want 10 times as many. And it’s not, oh, you need to think qualitative quality links only for those SEO, divas listening. No, you’re wrong. You need quantity. And because Google’s algorithm will filter out and de-value links that, that they think shouldn’t pass equitu do you think for anyone listening, do you think that Google is going to hire staff full-time employees to go around and just a massive amount of full-time employees to scour the web, to do manual actions? Just tons of manual actions. They can’t, it’s not scalable. They have to use software. They’re not going to get hired. 10 million employees to go do these manual actions. Sure. If you’re doing enough bad shit, you may get a manual actual, you may get a Google employee to get on their radar. But what Google is going to do, if they’re going to write their algorithm, devalues bad links. So many individuals listening are so worried about getting that Pitt. Like they’re so worried about, oh, what type of link are you building? Is it the answer is yes. Yes, get them. All right. So I’m a little bit more aggro here. I know Giesler Zach is probably listening, said links. Yes. Links, links their endorsements. That’s how Google’s algorithm was formed. That’s how they differentiated from AOL and Yahoo back in the day as a use links to categorize this. Yeah, they rebuilt the algorithm and then started using UX and core vitals as their main metric to categorize, a billion or trillion pate, or trillions of pages. No, it’s lakes. That’s the debate. That’s it, that’s the end of the rant.
Steven Willi

Coming out hot man. And that’s a real good point. So look, if content is king on-site or on page, then links are queen, and we’re playing a chess game, man, that Queens immensely more powerful. And so if and what you brought up is a fantastic point swept that it’s when negative SEO doesn’t really work anymore. And initially people were terrified of it and then they would update the distance out.

Chris Dreyer

Can I jump in there for a second? So I was sitting at a conference it was a careers conference two years ago, and I had a client of ours get hit by 3000 negative links. So we were a little bit worried with the spike. We were, the client was he didn’t know what. I gave him a hug. I was like, awesome. We just got 3000 more links. What happened after that? We got a giant spike. So whoever hit us with some negative links. Thank you. We’ll continue to take more links. If you want to build links for our clients, we appreciate it. So you know, what are you doing? You’re gonna try to manipulate anchor texts. Come at us, get us.

Steven Willi

Building off of that. Do you remember what happened? It was all to the truck accident, lawyer page, and within three weeks we went number one nationwide for truck accident. That’s incredible.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, it just it’s, it just blows my mind that there’s a lot of bad advice out there and advice it’s a lot of done in Kruger’s, overestimating their abilities with people that don’t actually apply and actually do SEO. If you’re going to build a couple of good links a month, guess what you’re going to be on page nine. Just hang out on the island with the other people, wanting to build good links and only.

Steven Willi

No for sure. And we’ve always been a volume-based company, but at the same time within that volume, we have an immense focus on quality as well. And so it is, it’s a nice amalgamation of both avenues. And it’s been immensely successful for us.
Chris Dreyer

Let’s summarize Steven and real quick content on-site and links. So content gave me the summery

Steven Willi

Content the answer the user’s query do really good key, do really good keyword research via search console SEMrush via Ahrefs hop into Reddit. And look what people are asking for in the legal advice column, right? It’s low volume stuff, but see what people are asking. Produce content and make it good. Onsite. Have a tight site, have a very clean site that doesn’t go down, rat holes and produce zombie pages that actually a site should not be a, when you’re talking about internal links or just optimization in general, all pages of that site should be accessible for the user in Google and it should be clean. And then. links, there’s a lot, build really good ones. And that’s, there are a lot of me that’ll be the tagline for the day. Absolutely.

Chris Dreyer

Crafting a strategy that leverages the holy Trinity of SEO effectively is a massive undertaking, especially in a field as competitive as personal injury law. Having a specialized dedicated SEO team in your corner is what will help you set apart from the competition. I wanted to know how Stephen thinks Rankings measures up.

Steven Willi

I have poor hubris for arrogance, but man, I genuinely think that no one can tell. We have such a stable of professionals that we have an incredible hiring process for to get that talent in the door that are constantly working for you. We specialize in personal injury. We specialize in SEO. Our results are if we could toe-to-toe in all major metros we’re writing. Yeah. So in regards to the provenance and what we’ve built in the past nine years, I genuinely don’t believe anybody can touch us. There’s so much thought that goes into someone’s campaign on the back end, that just people don’t see, we’re having these conversations internally that you and I have, but are going down all of that granularity that I kept touching on the head to back off, cause that’s all I want to talk about because I get so excited about SEO. We’re having a conversation on the background for our clients. It’s day to day, we’re grinding. We’re actively thinking about your campaign. We never go in the back. We never coast. If we are, if we’re racing, I use that race analogy.We’re not taking off our shoes for a little bit. Cause we’re feeling uncomfortable. We want to keep that number one spot. We want to get there and we want to keep it right. that’s what

Chris Dreyer

Couldn’t have said it better.

Chris Dreyer

For nearly 15 years, Steven has spearheaded wildly successful multi-channel marketing campaigns for personal injury lawyers. So when we’re talking to pillars of a successful SEO strategy, we’re talking great content, lengthy content or robust content library. We’re talking a well-engineered site. That’s easy to navigate. That has a great user experience. And we’re talking about links and lots of links. I’d like to think Stephen Willi for sharing his story with us. And I hope you gained some valuable insights from the conversation you’ve been listening to Personal Injury Mastermind. I’m Chris Dreyer. If you liked this episode, leave us a review. We love to hear from our listeners. I’ll catch you on next. Week’s PIMM with another incredible guest and all the strategies you need to master personal injury marketing.

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