There is a Parasite Killing Your Business – Stop Feeding It!

Ok, this is a RANT – but I just had to get this off my chest. In this 14 minute presentation titled “The Key to Search Success”
I’ll show you what is wrong with your SEO now and what you have to do to fix it.
Surprisingly, this involves:

  • the two meanings of PPC
  • the “virtuous circle” algorithm
  • when “getting better at SEO” is wrong
  • how McDonalds is a better business than yours
  • and the parasite that infects your business.

WARNING: This may force you to rethink your business!


Link Liberation 2.0 Training – Special Discount ’til April 18th

Comments

  1. Hey Lesley,

    Seriously this is the best explanation on what is currently happening in the world wide web of search…

    I loved the way you defined the % of business that us website owners think we own (in terms of search and traffic) It sure gives us all and certainly myself, a new perspective on how to better position my web properties. I have watched this video twice and I certainly learned a lot, so many thanks to you Mr ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cheers and all the best,
    John

  2. I like the illustration. No wonder you are very successful. I will divorce myself from search. I will implement the ideas and also get in touch to tell you about my progress. I am in a different program right now but will join you in a few months.

    • Thank Gichuki but do be careful about filing for divorce before, um, this is terrible analogy, having the next wife lined up (oh my God that flames I’m gonna get!!).
      Seriously, don’t throw away search, just make it work for you with the right goals in mind. Search is a great think, we love SEO, it’s in our name! ๐Ÿ™‚
      But it is no longer safe to plan your future entirely on search so start using it now to leverage more.

  3. Very clear video Leslie. Can you mention what time saving tools are included in Link Liberation 2.0 to help with the initial lik building needed to satisfy the parasite?

    Pete

    • Actually Pete, I really don’t remember! Sorry. Dan likely recalls better than I do but you’ll also likely find that Dan’s weekly updates will change some of these recommendations because many of these tools come and go at a great rate! In all cases, Dan’s recommendations are just his favorites and your choices might actually differ. The core concepts and strategies can be executed a number of different ways – that’s tactical – and not the most valuable take away. I don’t recall who said this: “you have to think about the big things while you are doing the small things”.
      Once you really Grok LL2, you could actually come up with your own selection of tools pretty quickly. Conversely, notice that for all the tools that exist, no one but our students are using them with the *purpose* that we teach in LL2. It’s the strategy that lasts – the tools change.

  4. The video won’t load on a Droid phone. Thought you’d want to know.

    • You’re right. I do want to know. I’ll look into that with my Droid. Parenthetically, in 5 years such a mistake might kill a product launch but that’s a video for another day.

  5. I want to be as smart as Leslie Rhode in my next life. I hadn’t really thought of using SEO simply as a bootstrapping method until I could sustain the business on my own, but I really love the concept. All this SEO and social media stuff is stunningly time-consuming!!! =)

    • Heh. Well Scott, I hope you’re even smarter!
      Time consuming, yes, and that is why we have an entire module in LL2 on “building a team” and that’s just a foundation. Since then we’ve done an entire webinar series with outside experts on how they do outsourcing. Bottom line: outsourcing is key to your future online because that is the ONLY way you can play the game at the scale it has grown to. Well, unless you perfect the process of building fully aged and educated clones – but I couldn’t stand me! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I cannot agree more with Leslie about the parasite which the Big G has become. I want to see an easier startup and intergration into LL3, your ideas are cutting edge and I think sometimes it is easier to explain the process than teach the users how to do the process. I would not roll it out over a week by week period, give some breathing room for people who have other things going in their lives, because each time week 1 is digested and started to be integrated, week three content is being offered, we get behind then discouragement because we now are in a catch up mode. I would have all video’s and docs for the program ready for release at each section, not adding parts later, example section one is now offered, then section two, but if because of webinars or changes in software don’t send us back to one again..add them to three…keep the process and flow moving forward, I felt like I was constantly having to look for additions of changes, keep the arrow moving forward. Thanks I do get it Leslie…more and more everday..that is why you and Dan are great Professors!!

    • Thanks for your feedback and ideas Jeff. As I said, and you confirmed, we’ve had a tough time teaching LinkLib because it is so subtle and holistic – sounds pretty new-age when I say it that way – maybe we need some healing crystals too! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Anyway, we’re are DEFINITELY looking at not just the content but the way it is taught and (oh by the way) Action Teams are almost certainly one thing that will be in the mix. We’ve also talked about Don Crowther’s “one week to learn and one week to earn” pattern used in SPF.

  7. Do you ever do seminars or small group masterminding for improving the online presence? I was thinking possibly even online using Google Hangouts (we can use the parasites resources!).

    • We have not, but I’ve seen thes “hangouts” of late and it may be something we do in the future. We do have a group coaching program that is in fact behind the LL2 Last Chance offer and that has proven very success for our students and Dan and I both do take a small number of private clients as a way to “stay sharp” and get highly detailed feedback on techniques. Finally, we are doing a live event in August and that has historically been the best place to really turn up the gas on your business!

  8. Are you saying that seo is essentially dead?

    • Ha Ha. No, that ebook was written a few years ago! ๐Ÿ™‚
      SEO is not dead, but the old easy ways of making money are not long for this world. In ALL markets and all technologies, there is a process of maturation and search marketing is deep into this process. From here, we will see a continued fragmentation of how page 1 of Google is computed, greater intelligence in how “big brands” approach search and ever higher “quality” standards on what gets indexed and ranked. These all “raise the bar” for the SEO and the newer Internet marketer. You have only to look at the changes in the last 3-4 years to see the future and without a more holistic plan than “traditional SEO”, that future is bleak indeed.

  9. Outstanding video, Leslie. Thank you. I went thru Link Liberation 2.0 and am now listening to the Q&A sessions. They are loaded with value.

    I know it would be a big job, but if someone could carefully extract the solid information (and there is much of that) from all the Q&A sessions and put it into a single file that is indexed in detail (not broad index terms but, instead, very granular index terms) so that the user can locate information on any desired topic easily, that would be extremely valuable.

    My biggest problem with Link Liberation 2.0 was the difficulty in finding a specific answer to my questions in the material. I know it is there because I vaguely remember hearing it during a presentation, but the material is not indexed to a level where it can be easily found.

    Best Wishes,
    Howard

    • We’ll have a look at that Howard, but the problem is likely going to be the that the material has gotten so dynamic as the pace of change on the web has accelerated in the last few years that such an index would be uneconomical or impossible to maintain. Thanks for the tip though, it would certainly add to the long term reference value for you “graduates”.

  10. How is Facebook more “virtuous” and less parasitic than Google? Facebook can terminate users at any time (and does) without explanation. I’d be nervous about being dependent on social media as well.

    • Yes, FB does terminate accounts, although I have never seen the sort of behavior there as on Google, but that’s not really the point. The real point is to not be trapped by any one traffic source. Here’s an analogy from my consulting days: which would you rather have, 10 clients paying $1000 or one client paying $10,000? Every consultant will run into this at some point and I can tell you that having “all your eggs in one basket” leads to loss of sleep! Online, if 80% of your traffic is from Google, that would be like have one client that was 80% of your revenue. How can you POSSIBLY ever build a safe and sustainable business that way? You can’t. Look at ALL multimillion dollar firms and you will not find one that relies so heavily on one source of traffic or revenue as is common for the online solopreneur and yet the danger to the small guy is actually greater rather than less.
      Are there people with 100% of their traffic from FB? Yes, and that is an equally bad idea and real leadership in your market is the only place of safety.

      • You would never want to build an audience in just one place – Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, the list goes on – are all places where you can build connections with people but you *never* want all your eggs in one basket. You’ll want to be building email opt-in lists, RSS subscribers, regular readers, etc. and that means a broad presence.

        With that said, it’s generally more efficient to start with one channel (like Twitter for instance) and leverage the traffic from that to build up others (email, Facebook, etc.). Once you have one channel working well you can focus on the next, etc. – “focusing on social media” is like “focusing on your business” – you can’t “focus” on everything.

        That doesn’t mean you can’t do more than one thing at a time (focusing on Twitter relationship building while publishing content to Facebook, etc.) but the “management focus” (your brain) needs to really be focused. Social media is actually easier to attack broadly while focusing on one area in particular, when compared to SEO.

  11. Martha Conway says:

    I’ve seen the promo many times for LL and knew I’d have to learn it one of these days — but didn’t have the same frame of reference for it as I do now. My background is in PR … having represented about 500 clients to national media. Your Link Liberation course sounds to be analogous to what a a national PR campaign offline does for someone vs. marketing. In other words, it’s building a business by developing relationships, a brand, and getting known by word of mouth and getting others to promote you, rather than depending on advertisting, direct mail, etc — which would be a comparison to the offline world.

    Would that be a good analogy?

    • Yes, pretty close. As noted in one of the other comments, if you look at what Ed Dale teaches as Market Leadership and what Paul Colligan has labeled ISYOT – I’ve Seen You Out There – these are characteristics of “big brand promotion” that have been largely ignored by smaller (say, less than $10mm rev) online marketers. That must change. The last 2-5 years makes clear that ranking alone is no longer enough and strategies that adapt more “classical” PR to the technologies and properties of the web will become key for success at ALL levels.

  12. Real world? Organic traffic buys – your FB friends don’t.

    Here is the problem with your method:

    Example: When someone wants to buy a new pocket knife, they don’t gotto Facebook … or Twitter. They go to Google. Once someone has already bought a new pocket knife, they might go to Facebook or Twitter to find other users to converse with … but they’ve already bought the knife. There is no sale available for you. Now you can become the nicest guy on FB and the most helpful guy on Twitter … and maybe, the next time someone wants to buy a pocket knife, they might consider asking you where to buy – but the vast majority of people will still go to Google to find what they are looking for.

    Now, you could become a parasite yourself, build a mailing list and try to sell a whole bunch of ‘sizzle’ to all your ‘friends’ – but what makes you any different than Google then? You are simply monetizing your traffic – same a what Google is doing. … “But I’m a nice guy – and I have Karma on my side!” lol – but yer broke.

    Using the McDonalds example: They have something to sell (burgers.) What they need is traffic – organic (hungry) traffic. How do they get it? By advertising? Sure – sponsoring the Olympics and other sporting events builds their brand and does make their brand a household name – and, nobody would deny that this branding will generate some $. However, the vast majority of people who use McDonalds do so because they are looking for something to eat NOW! They are hungry now. Nobody plans to go to McDonalds in a week – they go because they have a desire they want fulfilled. So they jump in their car (turn on their computer) and drive down to the fast food strip (punch up Google.com) and look for something that will satisfy them (search for * and browse the SERP listings). The burger joint with the best sizzle gets to sell them the burger (organic traffic from Google.)

    I will acknowledge that there are some products and services that might lend themselves to the FB and Twitter ‘Karma’ model, but most businesses that are selling a product need traffic from people who are primed and ready to buy.

    The long and the short of this is – being a socialite will build your brand and might get you some sales, but for the vast majority of site owners, the $ is in the organic traffic.

    • What you see is true as stated, but myopic. Step back a moment and ask yourself broader some questions. Where do you buy books? Where to do you shop for groceries? Where do you go most to eat out? Now ask yourself HOW you made those choices. Look deep enough and you find marketing and advertising, not random knee jerk I’m hungry now reactions.
      LL2 is not about social media and it is not about SEO – it is about using a multiplicity of channels that results in a multiplicity of traffic sources, one of the Google (because of “natural” links) and some of the social (because that is what people do).
      As the old adage goes, the purpose of marketing is to make selling unnecessary, and make no mistake that your buying behavior is NOT generally the result of being sold to, but is instead the result of very well designed marketing.
      There are no product or service exceptions to this – not just my opinion, hell ask Jay Abraham. The way to “sell a pocket knife” is to be front of mind for the specific type or use of that knife BEFORE the prospect pulls out his wallet.
      For example, if you look at the entire searcher journey today you can see this happen in SEO just as does in every other medium, specially, searchers will generally do multiple keyword searches, visit multiple brands and then search for a brand name or go direct to the brand to make the purchase. This *looks* to the untrained eye like “brand searches work better than keyword searches” or (alternatively and also wrong) “my brand is what is driving buying behavior”.
      For the person looking for the pocket knife, they have to see you, likely more than once, BEFORE they decide to buy and if you do that well enough, often enough and in enough channels — he’s already sold when he decides to buy.
      That’s marketing.

    • Milk,

      Your Facebook friends don’t buy from you because that’s not why they became your friends. That doesn’t mean you can’t get anything out of social media, it just means that you need to get out of it, what it’s good at giving you.

      The implicit question here is “what good is social media?” There are plenty of answers to that in the previous video I posted, Building Links with Social Media if you want the “long answer.”

      The bottom line is that if you are totally dependent on SEO, you’re just waiting for Google to turn out the lights. You don’t need to let that happen to you.

    • I totally understand what you guys are saying … but the implied message the you presented is that you can operate your business without Google and without organic traffic … and that message, IMO, is going to hurt a LOT of people. Social traffic can help in some business models, but it will never (at least not in the foreseeable future) replace a search engine for the vast majority of businesses out there.

      I do SEO for a local service business. The business owner spends at least an hour a day on social media answering questions, making comments and generally being a ‘nice’ and ‘helpful’ guy. All this work translates into 0$. What does covert is the Mom who has a leaking dishwasher and goes to Google and types in ‘dishwasher repairman’. That Mom comes to his site (actually she often does not actually go to his site, she calls the phone number that is right there in the SERP snippet) and buys his service. Sure the FB people and the Twitter people that he has helped think he’s a great guy … but that time and interaction did not, and will not ever generate any measurable income for him. It’s hard to measure word of mouth, and I’ll admit that some of his social interaction may have generated some business for him … but compared to the organic traffic from Google – the amount is negligible.

      I don’t want to knock your product or business model … I just want to state that, out here in the real world, for most of us – social traffic cannot replace Google traffic.

      • Didn’t say it does. That’s not the point, and your example is a local and primarily “transactional” business which has its own set of special characteristics. As I said, the holistic process that LL2 teaches is subtle, not easy to grasp and very commonly misunderstood.
        What we teach in LL is NOT to dump search traffic – not at all! – but instead to diversify traffic sources. Moreover, this diversification leads to more search traffic – a double win.
        A couple other details – owners should, for almost every business model but our own, never be doing social media. The opportunity cost will NEVER make that work.
        And finally, the reason that Dan and I still take private clients is to stay in touch with that “real world” and rest assured that this DOES inform what we teach.

  13. I’ve suffered for sure in past 6 months because of G’s filter changes. And I know all there is to know about old school SEO…what I call ‘tactics’ now. So, I’d be open to answers as to how I can get away from the parasite paradigm to the Karma when you have multiple niche sites.

    There’s a lot of old school SEO’ers who have multiple 10-50+ niche / parasitic sites and like you said have found that paying Google ‘rent’ isn’t enough anymore. So, can KARMA work for this situation??

    Thanks.
    GOOD STUFF.

    • Yes, absolutely, but you will have to start by focusing on a small number of sites, like, um, say, ONE :-), and serialize the process. Here’s the thing. The multi-mini-site strategy DOES WORK but you are operating at the edge of where Google is busy “cleaning” so you will basically be always next on their list of targets. Working that near the edge of a cliff is dangerous work so make sure you have a life line tied off somewhere safe! Most people don’t and if are honest without self I gonna guess you don’t either.
      So if you were our student – and we’ve had many in this situation – I’d tell you to pick the best of the niches based on some criteria we have and work that one to the exclusion of the others. Don’t kill the other sites – let them continue to pay while you build one really successful one.
      Then, if you want to do it again, pick the next one. This will require that you commit to building an effective team which is what Module 9 of LL2 is all about.

  14. Is link liberation for someone at an expert level of SEO? I have been doing this for over 9 years, have a 80 people size consulting business and always looking for new and effective SEO ideas, but the truth is, I have never been able to find a course or training that teaches for my level of expertise. I need an honest answer to this question, if not, I would prefer to hire you for a few hours of your time so you can provide the level of training I need.

    Thanks

    • Without knowing your situation specifically, I can’t be sure I am answering your question “honestly”, but I’ll try and then you could still contact us directly at support and have a more specific conversation. LL2 is not so much about SEO, although there are two modules in the course that deal directly with that, but instead about using SEO – at any level of expertise really – to grow all the other sources of traffic and to get more out of the traffic you do get (an effect our pal Paul Colligan named ISYOT – Google it) and what another of our good friends Ed Dale refers to as Market Leadership. LL2 is a set of strategies and tactics to achieve these outcomes starting with organic search traffic as a foundation.
      In our holistic view of search, that is still sorta-kinda SEO, because our real goal is to make more money for our students and clients, by any legal means possible, with SEO as just a popular foundation.

  15. I have admired your work since your days with the Stompernet group. I particularly appreciate the careful statistical analysis.

    Will this work with affiliate sites? Is it possible for one person to do with multiple sites with relatively little outsourcing?

    Thanks…

    • Greg, you can read Leslie’s response on multiple sites… it’s not a question of whether one thing or another will “work” – but how you expect to do well with a large number of sites. Get one working well – build an audience, get it to the “critical mass” point where you just need to keep feeding it (quality) content, and then move on to another one.

      When I say Quality, I don’t mean “pretty decent” or “not all that bad.” The Warrior Forum is full of people complaining that Google doesn’t give their “pretty decent” garbage enough love. This isn’t a game where you can expect to be rewarded for “not cheating” or “not cheating very much.” It’s not about playing by the rules, it’s about adding value.

      The “affiliate site” business model is and always has been risky. If you can’t clearly define what your audience gains, if it’s not obvious from looking at your site, then your stuff isn’t good enough to last in the long haul. Google has been seen completely de-indexing affiliate sites – even with “100% original content” these days. As in, “gone, bye bye, sorry about your impending foreclosure.”

      Granted, every case I’ve seen involves sites that have no real redeeming value to the world, but it still sucks for the person who (until a couple weeks ago) was paying their bills off of that site.

  16. One more question:

    Should we expect an OTO?

    • Well, you should always expect an offer, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰
      But seriously … for the lone wolf, self starter or anyone on a real tight budget, the current LL2 Last Chance offer is as good as it gets. Nowhere will you find such a comprehensive marketing course for the price – we are sorta familiar with this market after all. ๐Ÿ™‚
      On the other hand … if you have just a bit more to invest, you can accelerate your progress *many fold* by joining one of our Action Teams – see the offer for details

  17. Leslie,
    I like your mug on the video! Oh by the way it was excellent idea. I have been starting to realize this is the way to get from under Googles paw for about a year now.
    Thanks!!

  18. My partner is in Maryland and I’m in Florida. If we pay for the course (Link Liberation 2.0) will we both be able to access it?

  19. Leslie,

    That was just freaking awesome! Been having a lot of conversations about the downside of reliance on Google lately, but that was just a brilliant presentation of not only the problem, but the solution.

    Thanks and kudos!

  20. Wow Leslie, that was outstanding! Clear, concise, paced right and chocked-full of genuine insight. You’re a very good teacher. And let’s not forget that the length was just about perfect AND you had the decency to not only tell us how long the video was, but also left the controls in place. You might consider looking into a better mike, though. To me, the whole thing generated some seriously GOOD KARMA for you! (<; Thanks much.

    • Thanks a lot Russ! I never know when I “go off” on one of these rants whether I am on target or not. As to the mic … like everything, it’s the little things! The mic is great but I had to back-fit stereo because of a connection problem and the room is waaay to “bright” (acoustically speaking). I know – too much information – but since you mentioned it, I supposed it deserved and answer. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Didn’t you have a 3-part video series describing what Link Liberation
    was all about a few years ago? Re-posting these videos would be a
    nice gesture to remind me what its all about.

    I do remember you mentioned before there was a cool software
    tool that only Link Liberation members had access to that made
    the process go smooth. Please include that video.

    Thanks.

    • Chris, the videos are still there at http://www.linkliberation2.com/

      I should point out that the ResultFlow software is not part of the $297 offer for the updated course, nor is it required to execute what I teach.

      We will make the software available at a discounted rate after the training is completed. Whether you want to use it or not will depend on how much you’re actually doing – when you go “all in” on a content-heavy strategy it can be a game-changer because it means you can generate a great deal of useful content at a very low cost.

  22. Hi Leslie & Dan,

    You guys are awesome. Do the “old” Link Lib 2.0 customers all get free access to 3.0? Hope so. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes, anyone who purchased LL2 as a standalone offer (we’ve offered it in late 2010 and mid-2011) will get LL3 when it’s released. Assuming you bought it from us. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Check directly with support to verify this for your account, but yes, all LL2 purchasers get the LL3 upgrade free.

  23. … and will it help a company like mine who does not have repeat customers. People usually only buy roofs once ever 20-30 years

    • Fred, the LL methods will help every business that does business online, but what parts of the course you use and how you employ them will differ widely between different businesses. If you characterize yourself as a “local” business there are some parts of LL2 that will not make as much sense as they would for a national or global business, but the parts you would use would put you so far out in front of every other local business that it should be a VERY good investment.

  24. I meant to say if I buy link liberation 2 today, would I have upgrade access to link liberation 3.0, or will that cost alot more?

    • The special offer – at a completely silly price – gets you LL3 as soon as it is done (likely before the public BTW). This is summarized on the order form so it is completely clear before you buy.

  25. Hi
    I’m wondering if LL would work for specific service industries or is it just for certain markets. I am a bankruptcy attorney in riverside ca and I’d like to know whether it would work for me. My biggest hurdle is that the thought of bankruptcy is taboo and do people do t openly talk about it when unreality many need and benefit from it.
    I’d love to hear your thoughts.
    By the way I’m not an seo guy or marketer etx. I’m an attorney that wears many hats to support my business.
    I pay an seo comapny to help me bc google is where I get all of my leads but I’d like to expand beyond that but don’t know if LL is applicable. Love to hear back. Thanks again.

    • We have a number of students that are attorneys or do work for attorneys in several practice areas and LL2 is absolutely applicable. To your specific question, part of the audience building process that is a foundation element in LL2 is involving yourself not just in the narrow conversation around your product or service, but finding other ways to engage the same prospects using “Topic Bridging”. Using a couple simple examples: high end sunglasses are used in sports so building content around skiing, hiking, etc. gets your sunglasses in front of the right demographic; or a chiropractor can talk about the conditions, injuries and solutions related to different sports like golf and tennis. In both cases, we are finding the conversation that is happening before the prospect searches for our solution. This is “going upstream” in the searcher life-cycle. In bankruptcy, we would need to see what demographics your serving, create specific customer Avatars for each and use that to figure out how they come to look for your solution so you can get in front of them *before* they look. This will likely, just spit balling here, have you running a site about financial topics aimed at a group of people that share some identifying characteristic common to your best prospects.
      The teaching material contains guidance on how to do this, but you would also be *very* well served by getting into an Action Team so you have some group brainstorming and review.

      • Leslie
        Thank you for the thoughtful response.
        My concern is overcoming the negative stereotypes surrounding my particular area of law. Simply put people don’t talk about bankruptcy unless it is what they need it and even that they don’t share among their contacts.

        I’d love to sell high sunglasses but I’ve got to get past hurdles that most don’t deal with.
        Everyone loves food or —- product. Unfortunately bankruptcy is not one of them. I built my online presence as California bankruptcy relief rather than a generic law firm such as the “law office of… ” And I think it’s hurt my networking. Not sure if I should change the name or keep it.

        I provide a necessary service and I’m very good at it 100% successful to date but I feel I’m heading in the wrong direction.
        Lastly what is the commitment level? Is LL2 a live class or something I can do slowly?
        Again thanks for replying to all of the comments and not just mine. Paul.

        I will join LL but wanted to know if you would change the name or keep it the same.

        • We have divorce attorneys using LL2 and I while that may in this day and age have less stigma than bankruptcy, it is at least in the same direction. You have several approaches to your market.
          First, is to just message about bankruptcy. That is the narrowest messaging and will hit only those folks considering the process or selecting counsel.
          A broader approach is to address debt management and debt reduction issues, recognizing that many of these cases are better served by bankruptcy. This gets you in front of people with debt problems that have not used “the B word” yet. Not only is this a larger population, but it is “upstream” of where your competition is bidding on keywords and it allows you to engage with people and manage the conversation they are having with themselves (and their family) about the relative problems and merits of bankruptcy. And by the way … for those of us that have been successful in business for any length of time … there is zero stigma to bankruptcy. Pretty much everyone with a successful business has been there are least once as you must know. This is typically eye-opening for people the first time they see the list of bankrupts turned successes.
          Finally, look at your “best customer” and try to identify common demographic markers and then get in front of that group on any topic in the financial or legal area and use that as a “lightening rod” to attract bankruptcy clients.
          Depending on what of these approaches makes sense, it *might* be that changing your firm’s name aids in positioning, but remember that “niche is the new big” so don’t go after “general law” as either a niche or a message.

  26. I watched your video. I liked the way you presented the relationships with Google.
    My conclusion – I may start a Mac franchise.

    I am having hard time to believe that social traffic is the solution – how can you convince me?

    • Social traffic per se is not the solution – it is just part of the process. The reality today is that it is PEOPLE, not “webmasters”, that create links so the more you engage with people where they are, and everywhere they are, the more “natural linking” you get. This does help your ranking, but it also dramatically increases your referral traffic and the awareness of your brand in your niche. Social is a way to help make that happen in the same way that SEO is.

  27. Hi Leslie & Dan,
    What a breath of fresh air this presentation is and a lot more ‘posititve’ than the SEO emergency webinar you held two weeks ago. On one side I agree to diversify traffic generation and not fully rely in Google’s organic rankings. On the other side though, converting leads from social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. hardly works for me. It helps with building up authority and rankings, but businesses primarily look for products and services in Google, not Twitter for example. Well, that’s just my personal experience. Thanks for the insight & keep up the good work!
    Regards,
    Chris

    • Chris, you are (generally) correct that *conversion* varies greatly among different traffic sources, but that is not what I was trying to say in the video. Wen you track the *entire* buying cycle, you will always see multiple non-converting touches before the one that converts. What we are saying is that many of those impressions can, and maybe even should, be outside of Google. The origin of the last click does not tell the entire story.

  28. I hear you loud and clear about needing to divorce yourself from Google. I’m getting motion sickness watching my sites go up and down in rank. I’ve been ranking highly on Bing, but that traffic doesn’t convert into dollars for me. I just started building an email list and am very excited about it, but I’m not gaining subscribers as fast as I would like. I guess it’s time to put everything I learned from LL2 into action!

    • It’s never too soon to put learning into practice! ๐Ÿ™‚
      The more audience you build, the better everything else in LL2 will work for you – list building included.

  29. My business is in logo design online. My customers purchase a logo ONLY when they absolutely need it. I totally get what your saying and have thought long and hard and tried many traffic methods but the truth is when your in a “time critical transactional business” you need to be where the customer is when they are ready to buy. Thats the only time that it really matters. Sure being seen elsewhere is great but my customers are mainly solo at home start ups like tradespeople and small consulting businesses. At the end of the day they dont think about logos or care about logos until they need one once in a blue moon.

    All good content but does not relate to everyone. Which is one of the reasons I know I need to focus on businesses that can provide a real solution to a problem that is real and significant. My focus for logos is away from SEO now and focused on adwords / conversions / referral system.

    Cheers

    • What you say of logos is true of all products. No one buys it until they need it. Duh? ๐Ÿ™‚ Sure, you will definitely be in more of hurry to find a plumber when the sink is clogged than a new car when you win the lottery, but that misses the point.
      The meaning of building “brand” is to be front of mind in your category and you don’t get there by selling your product. Witness Nike ads – what the hell do they even mean? Most of the time they don’t even have their company name on the screen. Instead, they show their perfect custom using their products – a 100% image ad.
      Now we do things a bit differently online, but if your focus is 100% on the “direct response” nature of the web that we have all come to know and love, then you can NEVER build a brand, because branding is what you are doing WHEN YOU ARE NOT SELLING.
      Look beyond your specific product or service and the broader topic and the demographic. If your *only* product is logo design – which seems more narrow that it should be, look for follow-on marcom products to the same people – then you need to be in front of people starting new businesses. Those are easy to locate by direct mail of course, but they are also typically easy to locate via online registries as well. Free marketing information or entity formation guides are clearly targeting the same people, so find or make them and offer them for free. As people are creating a company and find your free info on the topic you now have engaged them as a known and trusted resource and can provide your logo services later. This is what we call a “Topic Bridge” and it is central to broadening your marketing reach online.

  30. Structured Takedowns says:

    Facebook is a “Walled garden” so at most, you are renting a page, renting connectivity- renting based on unilateral terms.

    The Realisation has to be that yes there need to be multiple traffic sources with individual characteristics and traffic qualities, whilst recognising that Google Search represents a high(er) degree of functional maturity at this time point.

    More interesting is to look at possible alternative Asset classes that are capable of “Ownership” as a means of staying Above the traffic choice.

    The money is in the list; the list of prospects, list of buyers, their email addresses and their telephone/ SMS numbers.Works for both online and offline

    Google needs to retain its “Top of mind ” consumer position and can afford to burn cash and projects to keep there. It might be just as sensible in broadening the traffic approach Within Google to additionally incorporate Google “Paid” again. PPC is absolutely where Google derives its revenue and may yet have a cost effective role in capturing the true assets I named above.

    • The ultimate purpose of being in all the channels people already use is to build BRAND. In looking at the valuation of your company, your list certainly is an asset, but your ability to grow that list, and to a real extent the responsiveness of that list as well, depend on the “soft IP” of brand.
      The fact that you do not actually “own” your Facebook page – whatever it could ever mean to own electron potentials in a computing system! – is not really the point. My rant was illustrative rather than concrete.
      The point of the message is that reliance on a single channel leaves you very exposed to that one partner. By going to more venues, you develop brand power that reduces your reliance on any and all of the channels. Witness Facebook – they don’t really even need referral traffic at this point.

  31. would LL2 help something like a roofing website? Since roofs are something people really never talk about much and typically a once in a life time purchase. I don’t know why i would build a mailing list for something like this, but at the moment i am paying several lead services that provide me roofing leads.
    i would rather get more leads from my own website, but it seems SEO is that only way to get more leads?

  32. Great explanation and my assumption, based on what you are saying, is that you need great content backed up by a range of social media support, thereby increasing direct traffic.. Sounds a sensible approach, as does owning your own property

  33. Hi –

    I agree that completely relying on Google is a bad idea. So I think it makes sense to ‘educate’ myself about the alternative sources or methods, of obtaining more reliable/stable traffic… other than the ‘Parasite’ ๐Ÿ™ .

    My plan is to then take that skill and essentially act as a consultant for local businesses and use this knowledge to help them gain more traffic and higher rankings. So would that be a feasible goal and use of LL2/3?

    If I wanted to utilise the course in that way initially… would it be necessary to also sign up for the ResultFlow software.. or could that plan still be executed without it?

    So by purchasing LL2 you say we will also get all the latest updates/revisions coming in LL3? What motivated you guys to offer such a seemingly great deal here?

    Another thought… does this LL2 course also contain access to webinars and Q&A sessions that were held? If so then that would be a huge amount of material.. and bonus!

    John

    • John – Several questions here!
      So yes, using LL2 for local or as a local consultant is a fine idea and we have folks doing precisely that. Some of them are working directly with clients and others are doing lead generation of local clients. In general, the volume of content you need for local is modest and typically very targeted so the ResultFlow software would be less applicable there unless you are doing MANY markets.
      As to the crazy offer, well, we’re just crazy like that! Ok, that’s not the whole truth … we also create a lot of attention, we create new success stories and testimonials and the “new blood” helps to evolve the course even further.
      Consuming the content stack in LL2 is already “eating and elephant” so you will not lack for content. But that said, in select cases, we will likely fold some of the non-LL2 webinars into LL3 where they are a good fit – outsourcing in particular comes to mind since it is essentially an infinite subject!

  34. Hi Leslie,

    Thanks, real good stuff. Here’s some feedback you asked for. Hope you realise this is top-drawer, worth-it’s-weight-in-gold customer feedback marketing research . You can send me the cheque later. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Amazing!!! I think I get it; I think I get what you are saying!!!
    Create links as part of an SEO strategy. Receive the benefits of Google and SEO in targeted traffic. While this is going on, create additional traffic sources which are not dependant on Google’s algorithm or changing policy. (Don’t you just love their term “policy compliant” ?!?) Also, do good for others and build an audience which is loyal and thankful to you. And, yes, of course who buy from you. (You deserve their loyalty because you’ve given them what they want AND been nice to them, right?) Over time, you gain increasing “ownership” of your online business and less dependency on Google. Oh…yeah…and also you will reach a point when you get enough links that you will not need to create any more links ( or many fewer?) That’s LINK LIBERATION.

    How am I doing? 8 out of 10? 9? How about a big fat 10 even!

    To think that after 2 years of on and off internet marketing and not earning 1 cent from a website, I thought I wasn’t getting anywhere. Pfff!!! Perish the thought!!!

    Good Luck

    Afon

    • 9.2 8.9 9.3 9.4 7.9 [one in every crowd]
      Definitely a bronze metal – possible silver – so not too bad! ๐Ÿ™‚

      One fine point about creating links … your marketing, without really thinking about links, causes people to create links for you.

      • Ha Ha! Funny! Thanks.
        “One fine point about creating links โ€ฆ your marketing, without really thinking about links, causes people to create links for you.”
        Yes, very nice.
        Afon

  35. A very interesting video and the over all concept of a diversified traffic strategy is common sense.

    However it does need to be said that there will ALWAYS be “someone” in the prime slots of the SERP’s

    Google’s goal is to place the people in those slots that “deserve” to be in those slots and for better or worse their “constant changes” are designed to displace the cheats – as such nothing really changes ever – every change is a micro change towards the end goal of “real and honest” SERP’s.

    Being “successful” online is really not that hard …

    1, Operate in a niche that the resources you can bring to table allow you to “play the game”
    2, Create fantastic value for those that discover your content
    3, Build trust, credibility, authority and relationships not just traffic
    4, Convert prospects to customers and retain as many of those customers as possible for as long as possible.

    Do this and you have little to fear from Google.

    The truth is that for every person reporting a decline in traffic due to the latest “Google update ” there are an exact equal number of people that are now getting that same “lost” traffic – and increasingly its the real authorities on a subject finally moving up past people that SEO’d their way to the top with made for adsense and affiliate sites rather than earn’t it.

    As such if you are saying that “SEO’s” and “Internet Marketers” cant continue to build a business on Google I wholely 100% agree however if you are really ( I mean really ) committed to a niche, know what you are talking about, can create unique quality content and follow the rules above then I suggest first you do is look around at the real competition – be honest with yourself are they that good that you cant compete with them fairly for the prime SERP slots now and 10 years from now ?

    If they are then moving to a Karma model isnt going to help one little bit !

    Get out of the niche ! and get into a business where you can go head to head on a merit based serp and with equal resources.

    In most niches that small businesses should be operating in this is a welcome “clean up” of internet marketing scum not displacement of real “internet marketing aware” small businesses.

    I myself have lost many sites over the years to Google “updates” but I am honest enough to say I was gaming the system everytime ( eg: a 10 page mini site optimized for one keyword phrase what did you expect that was going to last ? heck for 2 years I bought PPC ads only on one vendors brand name and got paid if that traffic bought something haha but its was NEVER going to last ) – conversely the sites I owned that I nurtured and loved and fed like a real business are rock solid 10 years later and the traffic levels have only gone up in recent years with recent changes.

    I wish people would stop blaming Google and be honest most of the changes they make are forced by dirt bag cheats and scum bags that are always and forever trying to game the system and squeal like bitches when they get caught.

    • Well Victor, some of what you say is true, but informed as I am by data from 1000 students and clients, much of the rest is not corroborated by the facts. There are primarily two reasons.
      First, Google does not *always* get it right, and more and more lately has gotten it significantly not right. Too many examples to reproduce here, but we’ve talked about many of them in public webinars over the years. The so-called “clean ups” they do always and unavoidable create collateral damage.
      Second, Google’s business model has changed significantly for simple and manifest reasons that have likewise resulted in a need for a change in practices by ALL webmasters, not just the “gamers”. We are actually in what I call “the third age of search” and while this is arguably good for local and mobile, it has consequences for non-brand-national (which is most internet marketers) that are PROFOUND and not entirely positive.

      • I would suggest that part of the reason that you see things this way is that the largest part of your data set ( your customers results ) are slued towards people that are more SEO’s and IM’s that real “authorities” in any given niche.

        Its true in almost every niche – even in SEO – that the best known most heavily trafficed sites of recent years are run by people that don’t know $&^*& about how search engines really work ( you should be able to see that ) the same is true for “best man wedding speeches ” or any other niche.

        I KNOW that you either wont admit it or maybe you don’t even see it but MOST of the people that buy Stomper Net or Brain Trust Products are “gamers” almost by definition – don’t get me wrong the real “authorities” in most niches aren’t perfect either most have a stupid “expectation” that online success should be granted them by virtue of their offline qualifications and knowledge – dumb-asses.

        But what they do have is a long term commitment to a niche and an able to create real content and that is something I will bet far too many of your customers struggle with – “content creation”
        I don’t mean production values that can be outsourced I mean the question – what could we possibly create that is “link worthy” all our content is scraped and spun garbage.

        I would insist that very few truly great content driven sites have been pushed out of the SERP’s by low quality built for adsense or affiliate sites in the last few updates, the only people that think so are the owners of those shitty sites getting pushed out.

        Happy to see examples of real case studies ( without having to pay to do so – that should be a part of the business case for your training )

        Problem is we both know the main reason that you cant do that is if you show a good ( profitable ) site to your readers and disclose its success metrics all the dirt bags that read this will climb over the niche and make it harder for your hard working client – my point in case really.

        Anyway always interesting thanks

  36. So does LL2 give very specific ways on how to execute the marketing needed, to acheive these results, i.e. gain links naturally from social media interaction. Or is the course more of a high-level instruction?

    How soon would we be able to start implimenting and seeing results from the strategies given in LL2?

    John

    • Both strategy and tactics are covered. The strategy and why the tactics work is key to being able to adapt the tactics to different situations. Like how a knife works as opposed to the specific steps to whittle a stick.
      As to how fast, the first modules are about audience building because that is the fuel for the later techniques. Audience alone however is a good thing and will make whatever you are currently doing that much more powerful so you may see results fairly quickly depending on what marketing you already have in place.

  37. Can you explain more about the “Action Teams” I couldn’t find it in the video. Is this an extra, once you buy LL2?

    • The LL Action Team is a moderated peer mastermind where you go through all of the LL2 content with a small (5-8) group of other students and an experienced prior student or one of our coaches. This is the “fast start” program that is available for people that want to get LL2 implemented as fast as possible and is an additional cost, and value :-), item above the content alone.

  38. 70+ comments down and no-one has mentioned Bing to any depth. Surely the time has come for Bing to wake up and come up with a fantastic new model that keeps advertisers and searchers happy. No more PPC. Lots more SERPS based on ratings given by real people who buy products or services. Advertisers paying (instead of PPC) to be part of a Bing quality checking service. If not Bing, someone else.

    Hands up anyone fed up with the quality of Google results both within organic and PPC!

    It’s time for big change and it’s good to feel that Leslie and Dan will be at the forefront of raising our awareness of it. A few of my own thoughts in the forms of blogs can be seen at http://www.custwin.co.uk/custwin-blog/2012/02/infocuration-%E2%80%93-is-this-the-future-of-information-management/ and skip to the ‘Time for Change’ part towards the end of the blog http://www.custwin.co.uk/custwin-blog/2011/09/ready-for-the-90-to-62/.

    Thanks for sharing Leslie … and don’t think we haven’t noticed the change in hair colour!!

  39. So apart from the LL2 course material, is there a free forum of any sorts where people can get answers to questions thery might have… or is that what the ‘Action Teams’ are for?

    John

  40. Nice video Leslie. Yes Google really sucks at the moment. Very difficult to work ‘with’. I have just started using blekko.

  41. There’s no question that depending on ANY single source of traffic is asking for trouble. One of my best sources of “traffic” is good ol’ fashioned email and postcards (yes, snail mail). Google SEO may be “free,” but is it really?

    • Well, yes and no … each *click* is “free”, but getting placed where you get those free clicks is not. Back to the McD analogy … location gets you the qualified traffic, but buying the location costs real money!

  42. Caliban Darklock says:

    This looks an awful lot like the way we used the internet before there was a Google in the first place.

    Which sort of make me think that Matt Cutts has been right all along when he said the best strategy is to just pretend Google… doesn’t exist.

  43. One helluva video – this is content at the highest level. Of course the content itself is extremely valuable, but aside from the actual content – this is a tutorial on how well you need to know about your content and deliver it in a way that shows you as the expert. Good stuff – I’ve got my work cut out for me, thanks guys!

  44. Will the link liberation strategy work for an eCommerce store in the water gardening niche. Most of the folks in this industry arem’t very tech savvy. I am sure many of them don’t even know how to create a link. What are your thoughts, I am very interested in the course.

    • Good question! The trick is, that almost no one – except us webmasters – actually knows how to create a link, but that doesn’t stop millions of users from creating billions of links WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING THEY ARE DOING IT! Awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚
      The nature of the “social engagement” platforms – blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, … is that they create links, some “followed” and some not, just from the nature of the interaction on the platform.
      Soooo, LL2 works for any market.

  45. Wow Leslie incredible explanation, social is becoming so big now and relationship building is clearly the way forward. Getting off the parasite isn’t that easy as you only have to feed it money to get what you want. However those costs are never going to go down, only up so social karma is the only long term way forward.

  46. Hi Leslie,
    I sell high end LED underwater lights for boats and docks. My products are expensive so I target people with boats, waterfront properties, including restaurants and hotels… people with money. I use LinkedIn a lot. I post articles on my website about LED lighting and how much you can save by switching to LED lights. I then link back to these posts from LinkedIn. Usually through related groups (hotel investors, restaurant owners…). Does this sound like a good strategy? Do you have suggestions on better ways to get these people to click through to my website and buy?
    Thanks for your time. It is greatly appreciated!

  47. wow, thanks for this post. this really opened my eyes. it’s always bad to only have one source of traffic and i relied on google too much in the past. i somehow knew about this before, but your video made it clear again how serious this issue is and that i have to act before it’s too late.

    i hope that i don’t fall back to the old thinking again.