(Transcript continued from the Episode 123 show notes and audio podcast)

The Mastery Journal

Before we get into the deepness of this SEO content that I have planned for you today and the listener feedback, I wanted to tell you about something that John Lee Dumas is doing. I’m not affiliated with this in any way, but I think it’s a good idea and it helps people. He is releasing a new book called The Mastery Journal.

You’ll remember he was here on episode 92 talking about The Freedom Journal. He blew that out of the water. Now he’s releasing something called The Mastery Journal. It’s really cool. Here’s John to tell you a little bit about it.

Hey Late Night Internet Marketers. John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire here. It seems like just yesterday I was chatting with you on episode 92 about my time driving tanks in Iraq and launching The Freedom Journal. We did that, we crushed it, became the sixth most funded publishing campaign of all time on Kickstarter doing $453,000 in just 33 days, all about accomplishing your number one goal in 100 days, and 17,000 copies sold to date.

I said let’s go from strength to strength and January 23rd of 2017 I am launching The Mastery Journal. Master productivity, master discipline, and master focus in 100 days. These are my three greatest strengths and I wanted to guide and teach you on how to master all three of these to improve your business and life, and take them both to the next level.

Check out TheMasteryJournal.com during this 33 day Kickstarter campaign. There are killer rewards, opportunities, videos about The Mastery Journal, all of the details. If you’re listening to this after February 24, 2017 when the campaign is over, just go ahead and check out TheMasteryJournal.com, that website will have all of the details.

Thanks, Mark. Thank you, Late Night Internet Marketers. I’ll catch you all on the flip side.

If those kinds of things interest you, I encourage you to go check that out. John is a friend and some of the proceeds from this go to build schools in Africa. John is a cool guy. Most of all, I like this because I think it helps my listeners, that’s why I mention it here.

If you have an interest in this or you’re looking for that little extra focus edge, I encourage you to check this out. This is intended to help you master productivity, discipline, and focus over the next 100 days. I think it’s going to be pretty useful and his journals are cool to hold, it’s a substantial thing. I like those. I’ll buy a couple and support the cause, and I encourage you to do the same.

Late Night Listener Feedback

I get these listener feedbacks and I really love them. I’ve told you guys that before. I love to get listener feedback, especially from long time listeners, people that are on my journey with me. I got a piece of feedback from listener Phil Zeto, and he has given us some feedback before through the SpeakPipe application.
You can get to that at LateNightIM.com/connect, or if you click on the Contact link on the website you’ll get to this page with lots of connection options. Down at the end one of the things that you can do is a leave a voicemail for me. It’s a really nice recording quality. Here’s a little clip of the question that Phil asked.

Hey, Mark. It’s Phil Zeto again and I had a quick question for you. It’s one that I’ve wondered and hopefully I’m asking it in a way that comes across as respectful, because I am meaning it with the utmost respect.

You seem so well educated on internet business. You’re in a mastermind with what I believe to be the brightest minds in internet business. You could launch a product and they could email their lists, and you could easily, in my opinion (and I may not know the facts), replace your income and be on the road to having an internet business. But yet you’re still doing it at night and struggling to make time.

I’m thinking to myself if Mark is struggling to make time for his internet business and he has got Pat Flynn and he has Ray Edwards, what hope is there for me when I’ve got no one?

It’s a lot longer question, Phil goes into a lot of detail, but basically Phil is asking the question that I get a lot of times. It’s like you’re talking about all of the fantastic things that you can accomplish with internet marketing, why haven’t you left your day job?

I get this question all the time and I’ve answered it before in previous episodes. But the twist that Phil put on it that I’ve never considered before, that quite frankly really bothered me – it didn’t bother me because Phil asked the question, it’s a fantastic question – the question that I hear that Phil is really asking is with all of the advantages that you have, knowing Pat Flynn like I was just talking about, and I was just on the Ray Edwards show last week, and I am involved in Social Media Marketing World, in fact I’m going to be out there in March, and I consider Mike Stelzner, who runs that and runs Social Media Examiner, a personal friend, Leslie Samuels is a friend of mine, Cliff Ravenscraft and I are very close, I’ve met Dan Miller, I know some people.

With that kind of advantage, why in the world haven’t I gotten to the point where I’ve quit my day job? And the question that Phil asks that bothers me is if I can’t achieve that level of success with all of my inside baseball kind of tracks and all of the influence that I apparently have, how is a regular person supposed to do it? Boy, that really got me.

My intention for the show is to be encouraging and to show people that there are all kinds of things possible, if you just apply yourself you can do things and you can achieve things with your business that maybe you didn’t even realize were possible. The intention of the show, as my friend Cliff often talks about, is to educate and inspire and encourage, this kind of idea. So the idea that I might be throwing out there an example that gave people additional fear or acted as a counterexample, that really made me stand up and take notice.

Phil, thanks for that question. That is a really insightful question, awesome question. Phil, thank you so much.

Number one, the main reason that I haven’t quit my day job is that I like my day job. We’ve talked about this. I work at a large electronics company in Dallas, it’s awesome and my job is awesome.

I’ve traveled the world. I work with amazing people, most of whom are literally 10 to 100 times smarter than I am. I’ve worked with people who have taught at major universities, I work with real scientists. I pretend to be a scientist myself on some days. It’s really great. I get to work with large electronics manufacturers around the world. It’s not an easy job, but it is very satisfying and so I really like that. That’s one thing.

The other thing is that job, while nothing is certain, provides a level of security that I really enjoy. It would be walking away from a lot, both from a professional standpoint, all that I’ve enjoyed and all of the friends that I have across the industry, and from a financial point of view.

By the way, I think one of the things that is interesting to me that I’ve learned in working with people that are trying to “make money online” is that everyone has different ideas of financial success or what it takes to make enough money online to be happy and to be satisfied, the goals are very different.

A number that you hear all of the time is $10,000 a month, “If I could just make $10,000 a month that would be a little bit over $100,000 a year and that’s my goal.” A lot of people have that goal, especially in the United States you’ll hear that goal. That does represent a sizable fantastic income.

It’s interesting, the range for that can be incredibly broad. I’ve had conversations with people in other countries, for example, that are very young without a lot of responsibilities, without kids to take care of, to send to school, and to buy stuff for, that talk about numbers that are more down along the lines of a couple hundred dollars a week, depending on what country they are in and what they’re doing.

Then there are people who are established executives in corporations that are looking to make a pivot. I’ve heard discussions from those people that in order for internet marketing endeavors to get their attention they would want to make something more like half a million dollars a year, which is sort of the kind of money that they’re used to making.

So the truce in the middle, I think for people to make the transition a lot of it depends on what your current lifestyle is, how much risk you’re willing to leverage, what it is that you’re doing, whether or not you enjoy what you’re doing, and how you view your internet marketing journey.

Another thing that I really like about my current situation, and I’ve talked about this a lot of times, is I don’t have to make any compromises regarding money. I see a lot of people online that are in a position where they have to make money and that puts them in a position where they might have to push a little harder to make a sale, be a little more aggressive about what they choose to promote, those sort of things. I don’t have to make those choices because I am doing this late night internet marketing thing because I love it. Is it a cash flow positive endeavor? Absolutely. Does it have to be? No, absolutely does not have to be, for me. That’s kind of a nice place that I’m in. That’s something that I would give up if I left my day job and did internet marketing full time.

Getting back to the part of Phil’s question that I thought was really interesting is if I can’t make it, or if I’m not in a position where I can get over the hump, how can someone without my advantages feel like they can be successful. One way to address that is to say one of the reasons that I’m not doing full time internet marketing is because I haven’t chosen to. That’s one thing.

To directly answer Phil’s question, and maybe this is the first time that I’ve ever said this on the air, the answer is if I wanted to go full time with my internet marketing business, I could. I could do that. If I was working, especially at first, 40 or 50 or 60 hours a week on internet marketing, I know in my heart, deep down inside, I could make a success of it, I could feed my family, I could pay my electric bill.

I could do a number of things that I’m not doing now instantly; one-on-one consulting, get more serious about product launches. I could choose to leverage more aggressively the friendships that I have online. I could go to my friends and say, “I’m deciding to make this transition, I need a leg up.” I’m not sure I would do that, but I could do that and I know most of those guys would do whatever they could do to help me that was good for their audiences. Since I would be in the mode of delivering massive value, I’m sure I could find opportunities there.

So the answer to Phil’s question is, 1) it’s a false premise, I haven’t made that decision to that. 2) If I wanted to, I absolutely could do that. There’s no question in my mind. I believe that in general for people out there, I have seen enough people make the transition that I will say if you want to, if you the general person want to make a full time living on the internet with internet business, and your internet business is well thought out and you have the right kind of business idea, you have the right kind of servant mentality where you’re trying to help people, and you’re doing the hard work, you can too.

By the way, from what I know about Phil in the little bit of time that we’ve talked to each other online, Phil meets that definition. So I’m talking to Phil and I’m talking to everybody else. I’m not the example that you can point to and say that it’s going to be hard for you to make it. In fact, I am the guy you can point to and say, “Mark says this is possible.” I hope that helps.

Internet Marketing News This Week

Today we’re going to talk a little bit about search engine optimization. The first thing I want to do is get into a piece of news that I saw. This is an article I came across on a website called Search Laboratory. I don’t read Search Laboratory regularly, but I did run across this link.

The question that Search Laboratory was trying to determine is whether or not readability scores impact organic search ranking performance. If you go use a tool like Grammarly or one of these other online tools that help you write better, or if you take a look at the Yoast SEO plugin, those tools will give you a score about how readable your content is.

We’ve talked about this readability idea. When you put content out there, you want to use a reading level that is appropriate for your audience, you want to make sure that you don’t have giant walls of text, you want to do things in the text that pull your reader through the text, like headlines and other things that visually break things up, including images that draw the eye and give them a chance to skim the text well, to understand what it means and just pull them through. All of these things go to readability. That includes things like the length of sentences and the difficulty of the words that you use, and all of that.

The question that the guys at Search Laboratory are posing is, “Does readability impact ranking?” They underwent a study, and the study is relatively inconclusive, to be honest with you. They work with a really small sample. I’ve run into this before with search engine studies. You try to prove something is true or not true with a search engine and the problem is really in order to get real valid scientific results, because there are so many ranking factors in search engines, you have to take a lot of data. You have to look at not a couple of pages, like they did in this study, but thousands of pages over time to understand what is going on, generally speaking, to ferret out whether or not particular search engine factors are impactful.

In the case of this, their conclusion at Search Laboratory is that they can’t really see that readability is going to impact your rankings. But they make a couple of points and I want to add one.

The first thing is the readability of your article does impact search engine rankings indirectly, because if you’re not targeting the right level of readability to your audience they’re not going to share, like, and link back to your content. They make this point in the article. If you’re writing a paper to scientists and it doesn’t have the right readability level, they’re not going to reference your work. If you’re writing a product review and people can’t make their way through it, they’re not going to click your links, they’re not going to link back to your article, they’re not going to share it. So I think readability does directly impact your search engine rankings, because it’s going to impact how people view your article. That’s one thing.

The second thing is maybe more important. As we’ve discussed many times, Google’s intention is to put the best content at the top of the search rankings, so you have to create great content. Part of having great content is having content that is easily read by readers. When readers get to your content it should be delightful. Readability is part of being delightful. If your content is not easily readable, it’s not delightful.

It’s in Google’s best interest to figure out which content is most delightful. Therefore, even if readability today is not a strong signal in the algorithm – whether it is or not – it’s very clear to me that over time as Google adds more and more artificial intelligence to the algorithm that readability and things that are influenced by readability like sharability, likeability, backlinkability, those things are going to become more and more dependent on readability and therefore that will be more important.

So pay attention to your readability. I encourage you to use the readability tools in Yoast in order to get readability to a decent level and continue to pay attention to creating great content. That’s the most important thing you can do to be successful in search engine optimization.

SEO Tips for Converting Rankings Into Clicks

That gets us to our main segment where I want to continue the discussion about SEO and turn a little bit to this idea of the effectiveness of your organic listings. We have talked many times about this idea that you want your stuff to rank, you want to rank high so you can get clicks. We know that on average on the internet if you rank at the top of the organic search listings for your keyword you’re going to get 30% or so of the traffic, maybe a little more or maybe a little less.

Of the people who type that keyword into Google about 30% of them are going to click on that first link. By the time they get down to the end of the page (the 7th, 8th, 9th link on the page) the clicks are going to fall off to 1% or 2%. That’s a well established fact, people have been talking about this for maybe a decade.

The question is why do I say approximately 30%. The answer is whether or not someone clicks on your link depends a great deal on whether or not your listing in the search engines has been optimized to convert the click. This thing that you’ve listed in the search engines, which is a title, a description, and a URL, those are the three things that you have control over, these three things are a call to action for a reader. They’re basically ad copy.

With that ad copy you’re trying to influence the searcher to click your link preferentially over the other links that are nearby. Obviously if you’re at the top of the page you have a better chance of doing that. What I’m saying is you can be at the top of the page and if you have bad copy or your search description is poor, they might go right by your link and get the one below you.

The flip is also true. If you have a better title and description than the guy above you, then someone might reach down and get your link instead. Think about when you search. You scan the top of the page and you pick the one that you want to click on, you don’t necessarily click on the top listing and trust Google in that way.

I want to encourage you to think about these three pieces that you have control over in terms of conversion.

We know for the title tag that we need to have our keywords there because Google is paying close attention to the words in the SEO title tag in order to decide what your page is about. The searcher is paying attention to that to decide whether or not to click on your link.

It’s really important that you do two things with the SEO title tag.

One is in addition to having your keywords in there, craft the title so that it is interesting to click. That means you probably don’t want the title of your blog in the title tag, you probably don’t want the category and the other kind of junk that WordPress jams in there automatically.

You want something the keyword and exciting call to action, “Blue suede shoes; look better than Elvis in your new kicks.” Something like that. If we know the reader has commercial intent maybe it’s something as simple as, “Blue suede shoes, here are the best deals you’ll ever find.” Something that encourages the reader to click.

I think the other thing that you need to pay attention to on the title tag is to make sure that it’s not longer than the number of pixels that Google is going to allow you to show. We know that title tags that are incomplete and show the dots of ellipses in the title tag have a lower click through rate than title tags that are perfectly formed such that they don’t run off the page and get those dots of ellipses.

Right below that, of course, is the URL. There are a couple of things about the URL.

Again, you want the keyword in there for algorithm SEO, but you also want the keyword in there so that the reader can see this page is clearly going to be about what they want because there’s the keyword right there in the URL. In fact, Google will highlight that for you in bold, which is a really nice thing.

You want it to not look spammy. Whatever that means. That means you want a primary domain name that looks trustworthy, whatever trustworthy means for you in your niche. You want a URL that is not too long, that looks tidy so that it looks inviting to click on. If it’s 140 characters long and it has a bunch of funny database characters on the end of it or whatever, we know that people are less likely to click on those URLs that are a little funny or that look spammy or not trustworthy. Pay attention the page slug if you’re using WordPress for your URLs in your search engine optimization.

Finally, there is the description.

As we know, the description doesn’t have much SEO impact from an algorithm standpoint, but oh boy does it have impact with regard to whether or not people click. Basically, this is an ad for your webpage.

It cracks me up because you’ll hear people talk about spending hours and hours, or even days, on the wording for an Adwords ad or a Facebook ad but they don’t spend any time worrying about the ad for their webpage that is appearing in search, which is the page description.

It’s really important that you craft content that achieves two things.

It entices people to click. That’s a really important thing. It needs to have a call to action that tells them what benefit they’re going to get by clicking on your page. It needs to not have the dots of ellipses that I talked about with regard to the title tag. Same idea, you want to make sure that you use a search engine preview tool like Yoast to show you what the listing is going to look like and avoid those dots of ellipses, because we know those don’t convert as well.

And your copy in your description tag needs to be a match to the search intent. If you know that your searchers intent is commercial and they’re looking for help, for example, deciding which blue suede shoes to buy, you need to make sure that in your description you take advantage of that intent and you’re not talking about the lushness of the suede, you’re talking about the fact that you can help them decide how to make the purchasing decision, because that is the intent of the keyword that they’re using.

You need to try and match the message to the market that these people are coming in from. We call that a message to market match. You know or you have an idea based on the keyword what the searcher is probably looking for, you need to make sure that you match your page description to that so that they see, “A-ha, that’s what I was looking for,” and that matches what they’re actually going to get on the page. The best way to get bounce rate is to promise one thing in the description and deliver something else on the webpage.

Those are just some things that you need to take a look at. There’s a good article on this from Jason Decker, a writer that I like over at Search Engine Land. You can check that out.

Wrapping Things Up…

That wraps it up. I want to encourage you to pay attention to SEO. It’s free, the traffic is free. The work to do good SEO is not free, it’s a lot of work, but once you get it working the traffic is free. That can make a long term impact to your business.

I also want to encourage you to go over and check out John Lee Dumas’s new product. I don’t gain anything from that other than love and affection from John for mentioning it on the podcast, but I definitely encourage you to go over and check that out. I’ve used The Freedom Journal quite a bit and I’m excited about his new endeavor called The Mastery Journal. It’s going to be a hard cover guide that is going to help you in mastering productivity, discipline, and focus in 100 days.

Until next week, I hope you totally rock it.

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