Frank is the founder and director at Sagapixel, a digital marketing firm focused on SEO. Frank is a digital marketer, turned teacher, turned digital marketer that has grown Sagapixel into a business outcome-focused SEO agency. Sagapixel is a digital marketing firm focused on SEO for small to medium-sized businesses.
In this episode
Frank Olivo of Sagapixel dropped a real truth bomb in telling us that the objective of an effective SEO campaign is to generate qualified traffic not any traffic. And you can't do that without first really nailing the profile of your target market and what you want them to do when they come to your website. Frank provides a compelling case study showing how effective a quality over quantity approach to SEO can be. He then gives us a 4 step implementation process to get the SEO results you are looking for.
A glimpse of what you'll hear
02:19 SEO should focus on getting qualified traffic not any traffic
03:22 Searches with intent or quality traffic is more important than how much traffic
04:28 Start with your target customers and what their problems are
07:59 Is SEO a once and done process?
10:38 The benefits from prioritizing quality over quantity
14:46 4 steps to implement an SEO program
17:29 Learn about Frank.
(Note: this was transcribed using transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast.)
Centricity Introduction 0:04
Welcome to the Best Kept Secret videocast and podcast from Centricity. If you're a B2B service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale. to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business. Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the Co-Founder and CEO of Centricity, Jay Kingley.
Jay Kingley 0:43
I'm Jay Kingley, Co-Founder and CEO of Centricity, welcome to another episode of our Best Kept Secret podcasts and videocast, where I am happy to welcome Frank Olivo of Sagapixel. Sagapixel is a digital marketing firm focused on SEO for small to medium-sized businesses. And Frank is based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Welcome to the show, Frank. Thanks for having me, Jay. Excellent. Now, Frank, I've had the privilege of working with lots of small and medium-sized businesses. I've been there myself. And as you start your business, as you're running your business, and you think of your marketing, one of the key things that you immediately grasp is the importance of your website. And who wants to pay to get traffic by paying for all those ads, when you can get it organically. And I think we all know the value of organic traffic. So that leads us to SEO, search engine optimization, and wanting to SEO, our websites, we get all this organic traffic, and everybody worries, how high am I ranking on Google? How much traffic I'm getting there. And that seems to be so ingrained such the conventional wisdom. So I was really surprised when you and I first talked in you have a slightly different take. Frank, why don't we share with our listeners your point of view on how to think about this?
Frank Olivio 2:22
So the traditionally, I guess most SEOs really have a focus on traffic, organic traffic to the website. And I don't and I think that they very often lose view of what's important, which is qualified traffic, that that traffic is the customer that you are looking to serve.
Jay Kingley 2:41
And just give me a little bit of sense of how a business owner should be thinking about qualified traffic. What is the difference between that and just anybody who's finding you through a Google search?
Frank Olivio 2:57
So we see when we're doing audits of new client websites, or competitive research will go into an SEO tool, see what's driving traffic to the website. And just so often, we see these blog posts on there that no customer would ever research. They may be getting auto traffic for it, but it's not really going to help them. I recall once doing competitive research, and there's a bankruptcy lawyer in Philadelphia that had an article talking about the bankruptcies of Donald Trump. There's no clear pathway from somebody googling about questions about Donald Trump's bankruptcies, who let me contact this attorney to see if he can get me out of debt.
Jay Kingley 3:36
What I'm hearing you say is that the mistake that so many small and medium-sized businesses are making is their focus is on the quantity of traffic, not the quality of traffic. Is that a fair sense of what you're trying to say?
Frank Olivio 3:53
Yes, the first one, the first problem that we see is that if they are getting traffic in the first place, that very often it's for things that are not the for topics that are that have no indication that the visitor needs this business services.
Jay Kingley 4:09
We've got to change our mindset, away from how many visitors I'm getting to my website to what they're doing once they're on our website, which is about all pointing versus quality. So take us through a little bit more Frank about how a business owner needs to be thinking about SEO, their website, and traffic.
Frank Olivio 4:34
So the first thing we need to do we need to determine who the target customer is and what their that target customer's problems are. So once we understand who they are, what they need, we can do keyword research. There are a lot of free tools that you can use, you can use Google's autosuggest, like the autocomplete you know when you start typing something and it tries to finish the sentence for you. You can learn how to use that to uncover the questions that customers have about the services and products that you provide. Once that's once you've determined that, then it's a matter of seeing, well, can I rank for this, or if you're a mom and pop and Page One is dominated by the Washington Post, USA Today, and the New York Times, should probably move on to another keyword or another topic, because you're gonna have a really rough time beating them, if they've already covered the topic thoroughly. Now, mine is a big if they're just because they're big, colossal publishers, and maybe they didn't cover the topic particularly thoroughly or as well as you can, you may still be able to beat them. But you really need to make sure that you have those two boxes checked that you're not going up against Titans that have already really covered the topic enough. Then you need to do a really good job, you need to write content that's actually going to become more comprehensive than anything else that's already on page one. And, and you need to use you need, you need to use language that your customers are using, it needs to be relevant to the queries that they're using. And then finally, you need to play the waiting game. Sometimes it takes time for Google to find your content to index it, to process it, to start feeding it to people once in a while and see how they interact with it. And see people seem to like this, let's show it more often less show for these queries as well.
Jay Kingley 6:23
So but let me Frank, take a step back here. Because I think there's something that is very clearly implicit in what you're telling us to do that I want to make explicit, which is, you have to know who your target clients are. You have to know what their pain points are, that you can serve. And you have to be able to articulate how you can help them get rid of that pain and get them into that promised land. So is this something that even before you get to laying out all the content of your website, doing the keyword research that you need to step back and do this at the outset? How does that work in your process?
Frank Olivio 7:11
Jay, I think you put that beautifully. And absolutely. I don't think that it's possible really to run a successful business if you don't understand those things in the first place. who your customer is, what their pain point is why they're paying you in the first place. So if you're struggling with that, that's the first thing you should be figuring out before you even figure out marketing, or, or let's say the promotional part of marketing because I would say that understanding that is a part of marketing, we want to take a step back if we don't understand exactly what problems were we're solving and what content we could potentially produce around that.
Jay Kingley 7:46
Right now, Frank, one of the things which I know I'm often unclear about, I'm sure many of the business owners in our audience are unclear about we can do what it is that we just talked about, you know, understand our marketplace and what their needs are, and how we can resolve those needs. And we can create content around that. But is that a once and done? You know, I do that maybe on an annual basis by tweaking it and refreshing it? Is this something where you would say you have to on a regular basis, be adding to your corpus of content? How do you think about that cadence of creating content that will do the most for you on an SEO basis?
Frank Olivio 8:32
So as far as rec, looking at the customer that you're serving, we do it quarterly, just to have a review to make sure that we are going down the right path. I don't know how my customers really handle that. We it's not something that we that they really share with us too often. That's more higher-level strategy for the company overall. We look at it quarterly to see what segments we have industries, we've been slowly turning, growing more and more of the healthcare side of our company. And I see that I see our momentum going in that direction. And it's because we're paying attention to the problems that we're serving, whom we like working with whom we seem to be getting the best results for who's profitable for the company. Just because there's a lot of demand out there for a specific market doesn't necessarily mean it's the most lucrative market.
Jay Kingley 9:28
We talked at the outset about how quality over quantity in terms of the traffic that you're getting when it comes to creating the content to get that traffic? Are we on that same bandwagon of let's be sure that we're putting out quality content, as opposed to just putting out tons of content to see what sticks?
Frank Olivio 9:51
I would never advocate for the volume approach to content. So you definitely want to have more of a sniper approach than a shotgun approach, the shotgun approach can shoot you in the foot, we very often start our engagements by pruning three-quarters of the blog content because literally hasn't had a single visitor to it in the last six months. And there's no and following that will often see, after 90 days increases in clicks and impressions, like less content more traffic, it doesn't, it seems, it seems counterintuitive, but it happens more times than not.
Jay Kingley 10:29
If there's a theme so far, I think what you're telling us is that quality always trumps quantity. And you have got to understand from your customer's perspective, who you're trying to reach perspective, what that quality means, and how to produce it. So if we do that, what kind of benefits do we get?
Frank Olivio 10:52
Well, it depends on the company. Really, the goal should be in my view, it should be lead generation, sales, qualified leads, they're coming that ideally are coming in, either coming in through your content or that have seen your content where you repurpose it on social media, you shared it on LinkedIn or some other channel. I would even say that, even when we very often will find so in HubSpot on our own website that will get a lead. And when we but when we look at our analytics, this visitor actually came onto our website like two months ago. And they just happen to search for us by name afterward. And because we have this that we in our CRM, it's showing us that we know if I were just relying on Google Analytics, I would have thought, Oh, this is brand, the traffic that came in that resulted in a conversion, when in actuality was a blog post that was the first touchpoint.
Jay Kingley 11:51
And just for our listeners, who may not be familiar with marketing jargon, you have what is called marketing qualified leads, which I always think about are people that are coming to you that are in the target market, that you defining thing about that as a middle of your sales funnel. What Frank is talking about sales qualified leads are really people coming in more at the bottom of your funnel, and they meet all the characteristics of a marketing qualified lead, but they have a need, they're looking to fulfill, and they have a budget and to pay to get that problem resolved. And from a search point of view, you will often hear the expression of that your customer is searching with intention. Right? Because they have a need that they need to get addressed so that that's what we're talking about Baskervilles Frank, do you have an example, of a situation may be where you have applied the quality over quantity approach? Reject things on the content side and what business results did you get?
Frank Olivio 13:03
Sure. So earlier today, I had a call with one of our larger clients that is that that's in financial services very high. They're targeting high net worth individuals with very high customer lifetime value, I mean, we're talking about often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And since we started with them back in March, right now it is August of 2021. So we're not even six months in, but so far, they've about doubled their traffic, but their weekly SQL sales qualified leads are about five times higher than they were when we initially started out. Part of this is because of the more targeted content strategy. In other words, we're writing content that's not defining this is how you calculate net present value, like a basic thing you would learn in a college finance course, which they had blogs on, which made no sense if you're targeting someone that's, that's a credit an accredited investor, but targeting the sorts of more advanced queries that a savvy investor would be interested in will be researching on Google. But five times more leads.
Jay Kingley 14:22
So right so we're talking about 5xing, your qualified leads 2xing the volume of traffic so that five to two, it's almost like an improvement in your quality and efficiency of your operation and that directionally I'm guessing you confirm this, it will probably generate ongoing returns because of the clear quality message that you're putting out there. Is that fair? Yes. All right. So you've made just a tremendous case example that shows the power of this quality over quantity approach. So I'm now that business owner, I'm saying, Wow, Frank, that's pretty compelling. I'd like to implement a lot of what you're telling me to do. So could you lay out sort of the key steps of what I need to do to make this happen?
Frank Olivio 15:16
So the very first thing is we want to go before anything, I would make sure that you understand that search and confirm that search is indeed a part of your buyer's journey. SEO is not a panacea. There are businesses, a gas station that has that's pumping out content, it's probably not going to sell more gas. It's the reality. So first, we have to you have to, you have to understand are people are my customers googling online, the problems that I solve? That's the first thing. The second thing is you need to then see what of those questions of those queries? What can you What are you able to answer? What are you able to get onto your website to get or do a really good job of producing that content. And then you need to, again, make sure that it's relevant that you that you've covered all your bases, as far as the kinds of questions that they have all the angles that you need to explain, I would look at what is on page one already and make and just double check to make sure that you didn't miss anything. And then let it get indexed. Like I said earlier, Google takes time to understand what the content is that we that has in its index might take a few months, it may start ranking right out of the gate, it depends.
Jay Kingley 16:28
You have given all of us a much more sophisticated, nuanced, but attainable way to be thinking about SEO, driving traffic that isn't going to do much for vanity metrics but is really going to supercharge our bottom line. When we come back, we're gonna spend a little time learning more about Frank.
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Jay Kingley 17:52
Welcome back, everybody. So after that great education on SEO? Let's find out a little more about Frank and Frank's business. Frank, let me start off, you know, at the outset, I told everybody that your focus is on small and medium-size businesses, we've been obviously talking about SEO, but take a step back, tell me for your business. What are the couple three critical pain points that you help your clients with? And why is that they look to you in order to help them solve it.
Frank Olivio 18:26
The main thing that they come to us with is the lack of online leads that they may have invested money in search in the past, maybe they haven't, but they have a website, and it doesn't seem to be generating any sort of return on investment. That's the primary thing that I guess at its core, that's what we help everyone with. In some cases, we may deal with more specific issues, like somebody has pages on their website that Google's not showing, it's literally not in the index, we had an e-commerce website, 20,000 pages, and I think 7000 7000 of those pages were actually on Google. And they had no idea why their products Google didn't want to show them. We give them a roadmap to get, you know to get that resolved. And I would say that the other issue that we help clients with, which is not incredibly common with SEO companies, is just general marketing and messaging and positioning with the website. Small to medium-sized businesses very seldom are working with marketing consultants or branding agencies. They hired a guy that they found that they had recommended to them to write to put together a website for them. Very often they wrote the copy themselves, they don't have any sort of background and messaging. And very often we'll help them with crafting better messaging that better communicate what their value proposition is why customers choose them. And you and at the same time, leverage that exercise to see if we can improve theirs on-page SEO.
Jay Kingley 20:03
My next question for you, Frank. And, you know, I always think about this, which is, there are so many firms that would say, hey, we do SEO, now we do SEO, sometimes it feels like there are trillions of them out there. So I really like to understand what makes you better in different to say another way, Frank, why are you and your team great at what you do.?
Frank Olivio 20:28
So we have developed some very proven processes for the things that we're doing. You have you it's very hard to find people that really do SEO Well, I can tell you, because I interviewed them, and one in 10 of the people that apply for jobs here are really employable as SEOs. And as a result that makes it important that even when we do find that one, and those one and 10, that we have very defined, proven processes that we don't have 10 people doing 10 things 10 different ways that we can find the things that work and then reproduce them throughout our entire team. That's I would say that's the primary reason, the secondary reason is that we have had a lot of experience with certain types of clients in mostly in legal services, and healthcare. And we've, we've already done a lot of the keyword research we've already had, we already learned a lot of the stuff that we needed to learn. And it's just a matter of executing the same thing that worked in a different market.
Jay Kingley 21:31
I encourage everybody to go to LinkedIn and connect with Frank Leivo. But when you do that, you're going to see his online resume. Because isn't that what LinkedIn is great at telling us. But I'm guessing Frank, that shortly after birth, you didn't sit there in front of whatever computing infrastructure was at the time and saying to yourself, ah, as a four-year-old, maybe I'll start thinking about web content. So what, and I happen to have an inkling that you've had a pretty interesting journey, but what are the things whether it be personal professional, that happened to you along the way, which you would look back and say, This is why I'm doing what I'm doing today?
Frank Olivio 22:19
Well, I had a very winding path to getting where I am. I started in online marketing in the late 90s, because my roommate's brother started an agency, or what passed for an agency I guess, at the time, and I worked there for a couple of years, and then just I didn't like it, I changed majors and I became a teacher my two-year college. Or I went to, I started to become a teacher. I taught high school for well over 10 years. In the meanwhile, while I was in the middle of my teaching career I was doing more and more performing. I was a musician. And I signed a district distribution deal with a subsidiary of Sony, but they didn't really give me any sort of promotion, promotional budget, or anything, I wasn't going to be touring or anything. So I needed to figure out how am I going to promote this, I had an idea of how to do how to build a website from the job I had five years earlier. And I slapped together a very poorly done website. And around that around then was when social media was starting, I was on Friendster and MySpace maybe 2003 2004. Like really, you're on and yourself Frank. Yeah. And I understood I understood that how what, how it worked. And I started promoting the music project on MySpace, and very shortly afterward. So maybe a year and a half all the other musicians figured this out till and it stopped working. You know, marketers always ruin the best stuff but I was doing that Bill and I had friends I had people that I knew acquaintances that needed help with it getting online getting a website. So I do, I did a cheap website for the gym that I worked out at then he asked me to help him with marketing, I started helping him with with with PPC and SEO. And then after a couple of years, I stopped doing the music thing. But you know, I did realize that I really enjoyed the marketing side of the band, you know, not just the performing but the promotion and the and all my marketing that I had left behind early in my career. And around then just digital was starting to explode and ever and no one could find anybody that knew what they were doing. So some of that I worked with at that previous agency now owns they call it a true digital agency where it's some of its traditional outdoor and television but they also they were also building out a digital side and trying to tightly integrate it with the traditional advertising. And he needed people. So I came on I was helping with business development, PPC management, SEO. And then I went, was there for a bit went to business school my graduated, I decided to try to open up my own agency, my own shop, see if I honestly didn't expect to be successful at it. But here we are four years later, and we have been growing
Jay Kingley 25:30
Fabulous. It just goes to show you, folks, life is never a perfectly straight line. What a great backstory. Frank, I am sure, after the education stories that you gave us, we probably have a fair number of people in the audience that are wondering how best to reach out to you so that they can engage and continue the conversation on how to rethink how they're doing SEO. So what's the best way to contact you?
Frank Olivio 25:59
Um, I would say just a general tip in general, just to stay in touch LinkedIn is probably the best way I'm on there almost every day. If you have anything specific about your business, I can get a question or something that you wanted to ask. If you go to sagapixel.com and fill out the contact form there. I receive all the submissions and it will get into my inbox and I do help people to just have a question.
Jay Kingley 26:25
Fabulous. We will put Frank's contact information in the show notes to make it easier for everybody to remember. Frank, I want to thank you so much for being a guest. You I think it really caused us to take a step back, rethink some long-held assumptions about SEO. It made me think about it in a much more impactful and efficient way. Thanks for being a guest on the show to everybody else. Until next time, let's continue to crush it out there.