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Unveiling the Art of Effective Website Audits

In Conversation with Jim Sabellico

For this episode of E-coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Jim Sabellico, the Co-founder at Legiit, an Outsourcing and Offshoring Consulting located in Myrtle Beach, SC. Jim emphasized the value of building authentic relationships with customers and clients. He discusses strategies for fostering connections and trust, such as providing personalized experiences and engaging with customers on a deeper level. This interview offers actionable strategies for entrepreneurs and marketers seeking to grow their businesses and achieve long-term success. Watch the episode now for some profound insights!

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Jim Sabellico
Co-founder at Legiit

Hi everyone. This is Ranmay on your show E-Coffee with experts. Today we have Jim. Jim is the Co-founder at Legiit. Thank you, Jim, for taking off time for the show tonight.

My Pleasure. I’m very happy to be here.

Great. looking forward to this. Jim you know, before we move forward and discuss the SEO digital marketing at last, I would request you to introduce yourself to our audiences.

Sure. My name is Jim Sabellico. I’ve been in the digital marketing space for about 11 years at this point. I started my digital agency, Jay Lewis with the intent of helping people to kind of grow their small, medium-sized businesses to what we call the freedom point which is where they can step away from the business and let it run in a more automated fashion.

So that way you’re not spending 40-50 hours a week micromanaging every part of it. So what we aim to do at this point is work with people to get them to a spot where everything kinda works together. There’s a system and a process where there’s a nice conversion funnel. The website works well, you’ve got leads coming in.

Everything just works nice and smoothly. So there’s a system in place so you can go and just live and enjoy your life. And that’s what I’ve done for a lot of businesses. And it’s just very enjoyable. It’s fun and just love talking about that. So happy to be here talking about it.

Great, It all, in terms of doing your agency being a part of multiple businesses. So what advice would you give to someone you know, who is looking to start their venture?

I’d start with finding out what you’re passionate about, not what you think is going to make the most money because I’ve seen a lot of people start a business just to make money, and those businesses ultimately don’t work as well. So I would start looking at what things you’re passionate about, what gives you purpose, and look to build the business around that, not just what’s going to make the most money tomorrow.

Very well said. Because passion is something that is going to last in the long run as the state and how important do you think, when you’re starting out or in general as well to have a mentor or a role model when you are diving into trying to start your own business?

I think it’s important not just when you’re starting, but for the entirety of your business. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a business owner who knows everything. And the most successful business owners I know who’ve been doing this for 15-20 years, still have a mentor, someone who’s a little ahead of them, who can help guide and coach them. So I would say a hundred percent always have someone who’s a little bit ahead of you that you can lean on.

Great. And talking about starting your agency I mean, how did you go about acquiring, some of your first few customers, and then once you had a customer base, obviously retaining them was a different ballgame, but how did you kind of acquire those first few customers?

So I did it just reaching out to people saying, Hey, I noticed that, your website needed a little bit of help. This is broken, or this could be improved. Can I offer to help? And I did it for free, so I didn’t charge them anything. I just started building relationships and caring a lot about the people that I was working with.

And once I kind just started to build those relationships and they saw that I’m not just someone who was coming here just trying to get a dollar out of them, but genuinely cared about their success. They wanted to pay, right? They wanted to give me money, they wanted to support me, and they wanted to introduce me to their friends, whom they knew, who also needed help.

And that word-of-mouth referral was tremendous. I grew this business almost entirely through word of mouth from people making recommendations off the fact that they knew I was someone that they could like and trust, who genuinely cared about their business, so start by doing the right thing and genuinely caring about that purpose why you’re doing the business in the first place. And to me, I feel like if you can do that, the growth will happen by itself.

Absolutely. A couple of pointers from there, Building relationships and caring for your clients’ actual business. So that is a mantra, right? Talking about you touched upon doing a website audit for free and then taking it forward from there so that’s the crux of it. You do an audit and then see what things need to be improved upon, and then take it from there. So, while you’re looking at a website or audit for a client, What are the top priorities you have from an SEO perspective?

I generally want to look at conversion. Conversion to me is the number one most important thing that you could look at because getting traffic to the site from SEO or ads is great, but if the traffic doesn’t convert, then it’s a waste of money and time. So for me, I like to look at a conversion.

So how can we make sure that the traffic that comes here actually does something and converts? And there are areas where they can improve, whether it’s design copy or any of those things. And then look for very obvious things that might be broken, whether it’s SSL that’s not working, or some broken images or page speed. In general, I find that a lot of people tend to go in-depth when they send this 30-page PDF that says, you’ve got 807 errors on your website. Let me fix them. That’s not genuine, right? That’s not, Hey, I happen to notice there’s this thing that’s not working on your site. Can I tell you about it?

Don’t go overboard. Keep it simple and just try and tell people, Hey, there’s this thing that I noticed. Do you want help? Yes, I’ll help you. If not, also fine. I just want you to know.

Just Important once out there which actually will make a difference versus, putting a website on a tool, getting those, eight, 900 errors and this, copying the report and sharing it. I get it. And then you, what do you think is key to designing a very high conversion is very important, right? So what do you think is the key to preparing or designing a high-converting landing page? And are there any specific elements that you believe are essential for a landing page’s success?

So two things I think are really important:- one is being very clear and concise on what you want them to do. So if you want them to hit a button, You want that button to be very obvious. You don’t want there to be a super long page that has a ton of different options and flashing lights and all sorts of things. You want to make it very simple, you are here because I want you to do this thing. So if you can keep it very focused and free of distractions, that’s super important. And the second thing would just be to communicate exactly what they want.

Don’t try and go around it. Tell this big fancy story. Just make sure that you’re communicating very clearly what it is that they’re expecting and what it is that you’re expecting. That helps to make sure that everyone’s on the same page.

Absolutely. Make those, call-to-action buttons loud and clear and large. I would exactly want them to do.

You want to make it clear that they know when I press this button, this is what’s going to happen. So there are no surprises. They know exactly what’s going to happen when they do each thing.

And those should be loud and clear in front of your eyes here. What are some of the latest trends? We are still in 2003, what are some of the latest trends in digital marketing that can be used to convert website visitors who leave as you mentioned, there is a lot of traffic coming in, but you’re not generating the right amount of leads, so then there is no point, so, how do you see that journey from, being able to convert those website visitors to leads?

I think clarity and communication are very important. The video has helped tremendously with that to give a very quick 30-60 second video from either the spokesperson or the owner of the store just saying, Hey, you are here because I want you to do this. Just so they can understand very clearly exactly why they’re there and what they’re going to receive when they hit that button or do the thing that you want them to do.

Video is very helpful for conveying emotion, making sure everyone’s on the same page, they understand very clearly who you are, and can kind of get a feel for your personality. So the video has been very important. I have seen a trend toward AI-generated content. To me, stay far away from it.

As far as relying on that to be the thing that’s going to convert people it’s very lazy, especially if you’re making AI-generated videos and just hoping that’s going to be something you could run an ad to. And then the money is going to fall from the sky. It never works that way, but if you want to use it to create some blog posts and create content, that’s fine.

I just, wouldn’t rely on it to be the core component of that landing page, is going to convert someone into an actual customer.

Talking about AI, how does AI if you feel it does at all, helps to speed up the process of optimizing your sales funnel, do you think at all? If it does, then how?

I do think it; it does to some degree help to give you an idea. So if you’ve done this before, you generally have some ideas you’ve worked on in the past that you can use as a starting point. If you haven’t, sometimes it helps to, use a tool that’s going to generate some content for you and just give you a starting point.

I wouldn’t use that tool to generate the content and just put it on the page and then leave it at that. But I would go to the tool, create some content and then say, I like the way that this says this. Let me reword it a little bit in, my words and make it sound like my personality.

So it does help as a starting point. I just wouldn’t leave it at the generated content by itself.

And then what is your take on Chat GPT?

It’s a very powerful tool. It could do a lot of things. I think like any tool that we’ve seen in the past, which is amazing, people use and abuse it too much, and then all of a sudden they realize, hey, everything is generic, right?

There’s no more personality on this website because everything is computer generated. Everything’s AI-generated. Every website has come from Chat GPT. It loses the personality and the individuality of the customer. So there will be a shift toward people using that because people are lazy and they like to get this tool and save time and whatever else.

But then in the next couple of months, we’ll start to shift back toward individuality and personality because you can’t fake that, right? So when you put your authentic self in front of the customer, That’ll connect on a much deeper level than just some generated blog article.

Makes sense. I can only, pick up as much as something which isn’t there. It cannot be trapped by AI either. So if you’re thinking something creative, something new, then it has to be in your brains and your handwriting that content. And what if we are now touching content, what are some of the tips that you would advise for writing SEO content that ranks and engages visitors?

I don’t know if there is one that I could pinpoint. I think it varies a lot based on the individual and their industry. I don’t know that I’ve seen one specific one that I could pinpoint.

No worries. Talking about keyword research, what is your process at Legiit for doing keyword research? We have these tools that give you right up front, but as far as my experience, every agency has their way of working out keywords, which they want to target for their clients. Right. So, what does it look like for Legiit for that matter?

Sure. As far as keyword research for me is concerned I’ll tend to look at a tool to kind of give a good understanding of, Hey, what does the data say? That’s always a good starting point, but you can’t use your brain, which is, I think a spot that unfortunately a lot of people stop at is they go, they type in a keyword, generate some ideas, and then just use that and that doesn’t ultimately work. You need to be able to use your brain and interpret that data as well as think of some other variables. So absolutely all that data is good, but it’s got to be a starting point and you need to be able to use other information. Once you generate that from a report, go do your research, go into the search console, and go look for things that people have pulled up your website for in the past.

Start looking for commonalities there, and then look for, are there other terms that might relate that you’re just not paying attention to yet? Those have been very helpful for me.

Absolutely. Those long keywords, and maybe for keywords where you stand a very good chance, versus just targeting the keywords for which your competitors are ranking on page one.

And they might have a very high DA, DR and you’re not falling in that category, so it’ll take a lot of time for you to even, land up on the first page, forget the top three. Yeah, like I said, as you said, rather everyone has their way of looking at it. So, how do you balance keyword cannibalization versus covering your topic comprehensively regarding EAT?

I would focus more on comprehensiveness than anything else, that and creating just a lot of content around it. So you’re going to have a lot of different pages that are going to rank well. Me, I’ve always been more of the mindset that what you want is traffic, not necessarily to rank number one for a certain keyword.

So, you have to keep that in mind because a lot of people are like, Hey, I want to rank number one for this keyword. Because this keyword has a lot of traffic but they forget that if you instead go rank number two for these 15 keywords, which may ultimately be a lot easier. You’re going to get three times the amount of traffic then if you rank number one for this one, which is a lot harder.

So, a lot of it is this ego in pride where we want to be number one for this super difficult keyword because again, free money from the sky. But it’s got to be realistic. You got to look at, Hey, how can I get people on the site? That’s what you want. You don’t care about the ranking, you care about people on the site. So just look at different ways to get that.

Absolutely. I’ve seen a lot of businesses focusing on let’s say overall traffic without realizing that it, may not be US traffic for that particular keyword, that the number might be huge for global traffic, but it does not make sense to me if I am a local business and the traffic is not there segregated in that particular area.

Yeah, a lot of numbers crunching to be done in terms of, how that will get more traffic and legit traffic to your website Talking about traffic link building what do you think about it? I’ll leave it open for you. What do you think is the role of link-building in your SEO strategy? What factors do you consider, well, evaluating the value of a battling?

So link building is still super important and to me, I think there’s a tremendous amount of value in that and showing exactly how relevant your site is to other sites and kind of creating that. But you want to focus on the quality of those.

Through Legiit, you’re able to kind of go and go into the marketplace aspect over there and look for high-quality links and there are a ton of really good suppliers in there. That to me, has been an incredible resource as far as where I go, to get those links. You just really want to focus on getting them and making sure that they are quality. There are a lot of people who will provide backlinks, but you don’t want to be getting 5,000 links from spammy sites or low-quality sites. I’d rather get one from someone who’s, higher quality.

And a lot of people do it through PBN and there are other methods as well. But gone are the days when Google used to just check for the numbers, and the quantity now we have to look at the quality at the same time as well. So do you also do link building or is it something that you don’t do for your clients?

I don’t do it in-house. We usually just outsource those through different sellers on Legiit. And it does work well. It’s just, it’s one of those things that takes time. It’s not something that you can just do immediately, you’ve got to do quality over quantity. You’ve got to make sure that you put in the work. But if you do, it works out great.

Absolutely, it has its cycle. Yeah, it takes a bit of time before you get a link to your clients or your website for that matter. So, talking about moving on to the local search. Can you share some tips in terms of how businesses can optimize their websites for local search schedules, if we can throw in a trick or two that your team does for, optimizing the local search schedules for your clients?

Sure. I think showing a lot of relevance to that area is super important. And a lot of people forget that it’s important to be clear on that, right? You want to be clear on, Hey, this is our service area. This is who we service, this is where we are as a business, and this is how impactful we are in this region. So making sure that everything relates to that, whether it’s your website, all the contact information, and the content on the page speaks about that specific area.

Your URLs everything is relevant to that. Setting up your site structure to make sure, it has those pages in it, those things are really important, not just saying, we service this area. And then get a couple of reviews for your business and then hope for the best. Everything has to be relevant to the area you want to serve.

Absolutely and before we kind of let you go, one final one since we are talking about local search results, how important do you feel reviews are for any local or small business in a particular territory?

That’s a difficult question because ultimately I do think a lot of people look at reviews and review count to make a decision. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of people who use reviews as a tool for getting what they want out of a business, so, it’s a mix, right? I think having a lot of reviews is very helpful. So if you have a good process for speaking with your customers and saying, Hey, were you happy? Yes. All right, cool. Go. Leave us a review. I’d love for you to do that. That’s important. Making sure you respond to reviews, making sure you do things like that’s also super important. But not buying reviews, Do not do that. Don’t get spammy with it. Don’t try and play that game because that just does not work out well.

Sure. Great. So, thank you Jim for sharing such important insight. I’m sure our audience would have benefitted a lot, before we let you go, we would like to play a quick rapid fire. Are you game for it?

Yeah, I’m game.

All right, great. What, talking about games, what is your favorite sport?

To watch baseball, to play lacrosse.

Okay. What did you do with your first salary?

Saturday? What did I do?

What did you do with your first salary? First paycheck.

Oh, salary. Oh, okay. I bought toys. I was a little kid, so I went to the store and I bought some toys from the Jurassic Park movie.

Okay. That’s an interesting one, which I heard from any of my guests in a long when do you plan your next vacation?

I think we’re going away next week. We travel a lot, so I don’t know that we call them vacations necessarily, but working from home you get to be where you want when you want.

So, we’re going to be going away again next week.

Okay. And then one final thing that you want to achieve either from an agency perspective, from a business perspective on a personal front, if you want to share that one thing that you want to achieve.

I’d like more people to redefine success, not in terms of dollars, but in terms of impact on their community and families.

Nice. Nice thought. I appreciate it. Great. So I would not bother you any further with my questions, so thank you, Jim. It has been a real pleasure hosting you. And as I mentioned, I’m sure our audience would’ve, loved hearing insights from you. And I will try and get hold of you for another episode sometime down the line. A More detailed one, so thank you. Thank you very much.

My pleasure.

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