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Best Practices To Get Your Small Business To Top of Google

In Conversation with Matthew Dorrington

For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Matt Fraser talks with Matthew Dorrington, the managing director of Blue Moxie, an SEO Marketing agency. Matthew discusses several useful strategies and tips to get your small business up at the top of Google. Watch now for some profound insights.

Social media is not a direct ranking factor, but it’s a part of the pixel-firing, building an audience that allows people to follow your brand so it helps with the content and content distribution.

Matthew Dorrington
Managing director of Blue Moxie
Hello everyone. Welcome to this episode of E Coffee with Experts. I'm your host, Matt Fraser and on today's show, I have with me a very special guest, Matthew Dorrington. Matthew is the Managing Director of Blue Moxie SEO Marketing Agency located in Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom. He is a certified Google Premier Partner with over eight years of experience helping small and medium size businesses succeed by creating innovative search marketing campaigns to drive traffic, using social media, paid ads, and SEO. When not working on marketing campaigns for clients. Matthew enjoys watching football, spending time on his sailboat, and hanging out with his friends and family. Matthew, thank you so much for being here. Welcome to the show.

My pleasure.

A pleasure having you. How would you describe yourself in high school?

I wasn’t academically good at school. I generally didn’t do great. I messed around a bit much, I’m more interested in playing sports. I made two good grades and they were English and Business. I have done that. Thought across the board that the grades aren’t worth talking about. The parents weren’t happy, simple as that. I was happy and having fun. That’s why when I came out of school, I joined the Navy. I didn’t really have an issue with the marketing direction. That was my original branding.

Wow, how long did you serve in the Navy?

I was there for three years.

Three years?

Yeah, I’ve been there for three years. Served mainly down in the Caribbean, a lot with the Americans as well. Anti-drugs and anti-piracy protection of shipping are what we worked on. And that was generally in conjunction with you guys.

Well, that's very interesting. I'm located in Canada, but I am going to be moving to the States. But anyway, so how did you make the jump from the Navy to here?

So, the jump was a bit natural. It’s a bit of a career change. But as you can imagine, as a lot of time in life when you’re serving to be, you’ve got a lot of downtimes where you haven’t got anything to do. And so, I rented books and I started reading about marketing. I fell into academics and all my life changed because it started with mindset but then moved on to marketing books and then that’s when the idea started developing that I was interested in marketing and I began to get the skills and I started doing a little bit of freelance work in my downtime. So, at that time I was like 18-19, I was doing little things, things like managing a small business, and social media, and I had one client for about a year and this client was paid loads and loads of money. It was a smaller amount, but it was for me at the time. It was like the building growing into something spectacular.

Getting experience. Why do people want the big money upfront? They want to get paid lots of money, the dollars, the big dollars. But you don't have any experience, I think it's unrealistic to think that you can either need to work for people for free, like a nonprofit to like get some experience, or go and work for an agency as an intern or such. What was it when you started reading these books about marketing? What was it that you found so interesting that you wanted to pursue? Was there an initial book or an initial moment or something like that that you're like, wow, this is really neat, this is what I want to see?

So, I read a lot of kind of mindset books initially and think they all talk about making money and side hustles and making sure you got good streams of income. But then I also did a lot of work for charity and still do okay. And I wanted to help people and when Martin, I feel like I’m helping a small business grow. It was my mindset, need to help alongside so I’m satisfied with the work I’m doing when my client grows, it makes me happy. So, that’s how it’s all related and what made me decide this is the way to go.

Yeah, absolutely. That was my motivation for wanting to have a creative outlet in which I could help and use my skills to help and assist other people. In that regard, what do you think is the most challenging thing about digital marketing?

The most challenging thing is I would say, it’s not the people trying to get into the bottom end of the market. It’s, for example, where I came from, where I was helping small businesses, it is people to overpromise and under-deliver. They help make businesses lose trust in digital marketing agencies, and SEO agencies because they’ve promised the world to a client, the client has to receive that and then you go to pitch from them. They go, well, this guy said this but did he live with that? No.

I was just on a previous interview, an hour ago and the guest and I were just talking about that how our industry has, unfortunately, become tainted and that one of the biggest challenges, is convincing others that you're not the snake oil salesperson who's going to over promise and deliver in that regard. And I think as far as SEO goes, too, there's no standard. I mean, how do people know whether we know what we're doing or not, when it comes to SEO there are so many opinions that differ from it. I mean, our industry especially let's just park on SEO for a minute. I mean, it's one thing to talk about Google ads because there's probably some standardization in regards to Google ads of what campaigns, structures, and at the day, I mean if you are blowing through money, they can figure it out pretty quickly conversion tracking and all those things are set up properly. But, with SEO there are a lot of different opinions

We get the algorithm updates, we read them, and then, yeah, so we’re arguing over what stuff actually means, and until we trial and test that we begin to discover and then all of a sudden we will formalize and come together and go, well, this is the answer.

You mentioned something very interesting. So, what's the number one way to learn about SEO, then?

It’s of course, conferences that vary around the world, and I’m going to one in Barcelona on the 17th of November. And then there’s one in Brighton in England on 8th October. Conferences are a great way to go, Google always speaks of these conferences, also other market leaders. I myself originally attended a couple of them, it set you on top of things. I mean algorithm updates mentoring keep an on the Google bot, a Twitter account that always tells you when they’ve had some changes. Google tells you everything. All the information is on Google, not from other websites but from the Google developer’s website. That’s your core go-to, any other blog is this interpretation of what Google developers are saying. So, it’s best to go direct to Google and have a look at the content narrative and read it because it’s effectively a list of rules that your website needs to abide by to be able to rank as high as possible and if you will focus, you will achieve.

Yeah. You mentioned testing. Do you ever do any kind of testing?

Yeah, absolutely. All the time. So, if we got a page, it’s sitting at the bottom of page one. We test different things over a period of a week or a couple of weeks period to see how it moves. This might be anything from H1, H2, or H3, titles to smoke technical, structured data, speed optimization, compressing images, all of that kind of stuff above the fold load in, and then we test different things and see what’s affected in the move. But once you found what’s making it move, you can then build upon that and apply that across the site. The other thing we can do a lot is AB Test different articles, so we might have to ask you about the same subject or different keywords to see which one is providing the most traffic then combine two articles’ traffic into one place.

Oh, interesting. What do you think is the biggest misconception about SEO?

I think the biggest misconception is, you have to rank number one to gain the best and most traffic, which I believe strongly, and I’ve got very good traffic for some of my clients in third, and fourth positions because it’s about the matter of data. I feel it’s the most important thing to drive all people in.

Okay. So, we would probably agree that metadata isn't a ranking factor. It's a definite factor.

It’s a user experience.

Yes. CTR, click the rates. This is very interesting. So, what have you found to be the most successful in crafting meta titles and descriptions that are SEO optimized, and that also satisfy the user for CTR?

The people cram key keywords in there, but it’s just not a ranking factor. You see this, you see one ranking above you and then they have got keyword, free keywords, just put blinds in the middle. You need to put some emotion in there, what the person’s going to get when they click on this, this is covered by tools as well. Make sure there are emotional words in there that make people want to click. So, for example, we might put instead of ‘digital marketing agency’ can digital marketing agency Maidstone. You might win in a digital marketing agency, put your keywords there, and without saying where the best, we are the greatest.

Okay.

Award-winning and that gives a motion and allows people to connect. Then in the metadata a very simple, what you’re achieving by coming on here, we can help you. If you’re a shop, selling shoes, for example, you might say designer shoes from X, Y, Z, design, and so on and so forth. So, people know exactly what I get on there and you really reduce that bounce rate, which overall will help with your own growth.

There's just a certain number of skills then that obviously involve the knowledge of copywriting.

Yeah, absolutely.

I think a lot of SEOs, in my experience, aren't the best copywriters, it's very left-brained and dominant. I mean, I know some people think the left brain and the right brain don't exist, but whatever. It's very analytical. A lot of SEOs are very analytical and sometimes it's both. You know, in regards to content ideas and coming up with certain creative content ideas and what you just nail on the head. Being creative and coming up with copy that's going to move people to action, which is copywriting. So, besides copywriting, what other skill sets do you think are important for SEOs to have today?

I think a basic knowledge of code. So, we got very much mixed in the SEO world, which I’m saying when new clients come on board, especially if they’ve been with a marketing agency or an SEO agency previously. I’m not about channel speed optimizations being completed. It’s no metadata or unstructured data. Only a simple knowledge of code will help you along the way. So, I feel like code is something that many don’t learn, it’s just the on-page stuff, the visual stuff that the client can see.

Yeah. I think a free course on HTML from the B3 code school or something like that. I can't remember. There are lots of places you can just learn the basics of HTML and do SEO without knowing what an H1 tag is and H2, H3, and the differences in those things. Yeah, if you're just starting out, I know there are tools out there that enable people to look at those things. I'm not sure what your thoughts are. I'm referring to Surfer SEO and Page Optimizer Pro.

I mean, I avoid using tools because they’re extra space on the server and they reduce the speed of the website by only fractions. But I’d rather drop it straight into the clean page. No tools putting it on top of JavaScript and so forth.

Yeah, absolutely. What are the best practices to follow in trying to get a small business to the top of Google search results? What's the framework that you start with?

So, the framework I would start with, is what it would take on a new client. First of all, what pages they’ve got there and what those words, they’re already ranking for? Normally clients seem too big initially. They’ll try to dominate the whole of the UK. For example, we’ve got a local pet shop or an aquarium shop. They sell fish tanks, for example. Initially, they might be thinking, we can sell these to the whole country and then they would go Fish Tank UK, Fish Tank England, whereas they need to find smaller initially and build up your location first. So, for example, for us, you would say Fish Tanks in Maidstone, but then you might add at Maidstone, Kent. So, you’ll get in that double-tail keyword you’re covering. Kent, Maidstone, and the star are smaller. I think that’s initially the main thing you need to look at. But primarily I’m a content marketer and I prefer to rank for great content and I would be preferring to get my copywriting team to write blogs on the best aquariums, the best set up aquariums so then we can hyperlink to the little pumps or the rocks and all the fish and what all they need. But be able to again put emotion into the words, know how to help people, and then ultimately for the client and customers already on their website and this is where PPC comes in, that is firing on Facebook pixels, firing on google pixels. Those then adverts back in their news feed, to me that’s essential. Once they’re on your website, we can then go to the transactional stage by using the PPC to bring them back into the sales websites afterward.

So you're saying that content is just the foundation. Trying to do SEO or to be frank, marketing at all without contact is like trying to drive a vehicle without petrol.

Absolutely.

It's just not going to work.

You build trust with the customer before they’ve come through to the sales stage. Many people just want to drive the customer straight to the sales page.

But they are like, who is this company? Should I trust them? They go back and carry-on shopping. Whereas if they were to go read an article because they’ve searched a question related to your business because they’re doing the research before making the transaction, then they see you on Facebook or on Google. they go, I know this name because.

Because of the display Ad.

Then they hit back, and we talked in adverts very, very cheap and we can tend to pay per click because you’re targeting the people on your website and so they already know you and it’s already built that trust. And so, you can attribute that to an SEO sale because it comes through. But yes, it cost you an additional £10 to bring that person back. This is where PPC and SEO go hand in hand.

Yeah, it's amazing. That's how I was able to achieve what I did when I was at the dealership. I drove organic traffic and paid traffic and retargeted various different ways, whether it was on YouTube or display ads, or Facebook. So, you were talking about content. We were talking about that and making sure that you have content that informs the customer. And so, would you say that developing the customer journey for businesses is an integral part? Or even starting to generate traffic and content? Does it really dictate what kind of content you're going to have, correct?

Absolutely. I mean, the first thing we do before we even write a piece of content for a client is mention the downs process for when the leads come in or when these inquiries come in. Many of us, receive traffic, they receive leads, and they don’t know what to do with them. They get flustered and go. The main issue is, oh, we haven’t got any customers to come in. Then all of a sudden, they’ve got customers coming in, but they’re not converting them. So, especially for B2B businesses, when you’re in for a consultation, then take them through the steps into the sale. They’ve got that set-in place because I see many small agencies losing clients just simply because the client doesn’t know what to do with the leads. Yeah, that’s amazing. How big is your bottom line? Because they haven’t built that system. So, we’ve created a small pack of tools to give clients a basic sales channel, and basic flows that they can follow. Then it’s kind of a little up so, we help you build this and we put all our pipelines in place for the lead tracking software.

Oh, that's awesome.

That’s an absolute foundation to make sure that when those sales do cover that and effectively at the end of the contract, they can’t go. Well, we didn’t impose a defeat. What steps did you take to close this client, or what did they go through? But you’ve got to keep asking why.

Sometimes I think clients have unrealistic expectations that the phone is supposed to ring and as a result of lead generation or whatever, that there's no need to nurture the leads, Phones are going to ring and they are going to say, I want to buy like, here's my credit card, give me your product and when it's all about relationship and there need to be things in place to nurture those relationships. So, would you agree with that?

Absolutely. You’ve got to have that process. If you haven’t got that process, we are not going to be able to close edge leads and this goes for any business and especially new start-ups. They’re not even thought about this often, it’s beginning to get into a fluster when a lead comes in.

So, what sort of things do you implement in order to make sure that you're tracking and being able to report to the client that you're providing value to them at the end of the day?

Okay. So, obviously for us, especially with SEO here in the early days. And when I say early days, I mean, the first couple of months, you all got to improve traffic straight away. Ultimately, you’re not going to see any serious traffic for about two, or three months, and the second month and the third month, that’s when the more serious traffic is going to come. So, what we always do in the early stages since the lead generation platform is set up. I can see what leads are coming and what sales are coming in. But if it’s transactional-based like a shop, that’s a little bit easier because you can use Google tags and along with that, behind the scenes, a very strict log written by all of my staff. This is the work we’ve completed, we’ve done that, and this is how long it’s helped. So, the client can always go back and say, what is this? I always present SEO in my monthly meetings so that I encourage my clients. If you don’t understand what they’ve done here, tell me in plain English. Make it very simple, make it very kind, average.

Understandable, yeah.

So, I always encourage my clients to ask, what is this? What does this mean? Well, it went straight from there. I want questions, I want them to be able to come and say, I don’t understand what this is, because ultimately then all this technical stuff has to be in there. And technical words are good because it isn’t simple but they look simple on paper, which isn’t simple. They might go or I could just do this myself.

Yeah, at the end of the day, I think clients are also interested in either their phone ringing or a lead in some shape, form, or another. Do you insist on clients using call tracking, especially since you're doing Google ads? Is that part of your strategy?

Not really, don’t call buttons on my Google ads. I want people to land on the website as simple as that. I need them to fire my pixels. So, you track calls once they’re on the website. We always add a call now button to our client’s websites and we make sure there’s a call to action on every scroll on every screen. So, we want to screen every time you’re reading something, that should always be a call to action.

Yeah, absolutely.

And then we heat map those to see where people are moving on the website so we can review the user experience and what people are clicking, what people are missing every 15 days. So, we’re able to adjust the website to make sure it’s performing the best it possibly can.

Right on. You mentioned social media in your opinion, how does social media affect SEO?

Social media is not a direct ranking factor, but it’s a part of the obviously the pixel fire in building an audience that allows people to actually come back and follow your brand. It helps with content distribution. Yeah. It allows a longer lifespan of your post so; it’s opposed to being able to be shared more. You can repost and when you update content for example, when you change all of the dates and then rehash every four months, rehash every blog to make sure it’s up to date and resubmit it to Google, post it straight out on social media with a whole new post and it engages with the audience and improves your visibility, organic traffic, brand recognition, brand awareness, people you know who you are and the local search engine optimization. So, you’re optimized within Facebook itself, people search for services within Facebook and I do suspect they do take that from Facebook, but that’s not confirmed by Google. So, it’s probably best just to make sure that it’s fully up to date.

Absolutely. What are your thoughts on AI in regard to content creation?

I love AI, for content creation is no. I don’t like all of this copyrighting in AI that’s coming out. People are chucking out content and it’s cannibalized from other blogs across the Web and it’s not original. I still think copyright stepping on those jobs that would need to be done by a human. In terms of AI and social media and on your website it’s definitely bots. That’s great. You can train bots to learn, to be able to talk to your clients, look after customer accounts, and answer basic questions, and you can avoid having to interact with a human by using a bot. For example, one of my clients, it’s like a festival or music festival. So, the regular comments are, how do I change dramatically? And he goes, Oh, just follow this thing and so on, so forth. He allows a human not to have to get involved, to answer a basic question. So, in that, it’s amazing because you can include what keywords it needs to look out for within a question. But, copyright in AI is I think it’s got a long way to go before it can be an industry standard.

Yeah, it'd be interesting to see how that plays out over the next few years.

What do you think are the biggest challenges small businesses face when trying to rank in the local search results?

I think that the biggest problem with many small business owners is they want to do it themselves. The keyword stuff and they don’t realize it’s a problem. Like because they go to that BNI group, they go to a networking group and you’ve got to put keywords everywhere and they don’t know the use of these keywords. When you go to local google my business posts and stuff, there are keywords everywhere, there’s no description, there’s a list of keywords, and they feel they’re doing the best they possibly can to appear. But what they’re actually doing is damaging their position. And it’s the same with their websites. Quite often they repeat the location too many times or every time they mention their business, every other sentence. That’s not something we find and then when you initially do make a change in the make it looks normal so that Google sees that natural content. Initially, the clients will be like but you’ve taken all the location keywords out. Haven’t we mentioned it two-three times over two and a half thousand words, you got a Google map with location-optimized images which is absolutely essential and it might not be visible to your eye, but googled more aware of where you are now than before. So, I think that the biggest challenge, educating the market so that you can start your content.

You mentioned that one of the ways to learn about SEO marketing is by attending conferences. What about growing your business? Have you ever had the opportunity to speak at conferences?

Yeah, I’ve done some TED talks and I talk a great deal at local chamber events. I feel that it’s a really, really important way of growing your business because when you become knowledgeable in your industry, your local area begins to get you known as the person to speak to. One or two emails a day, come to my boss. Simple marketing questions from local business people. It’s those questions that help build your authority, but mostly talking about events. Another example is our local chamber, the Kent Chamber. We spoke at all of their networking events. Every single one of our logos is everywhere, all over them. We need to go to and by doing TED Talks and talking at events you can go out there and get these kinds of talks, just by simply messaging these people. Sometimes they would say no, but welcome you along. It’s the same as cold calling. You keep asking but you become an industry operative figure and then people automatically come to you. But if you do try it, don’t just do one and bingo, welcome leads. You got to it at the moment. That’s absolutely essential.

Absolutely. Hey, Matthew, it's been a pleasure having you on the show and we're coming to the end of our time together. I would love to have you on again to further discuss different aspects of marketing. If our audience wants to connect with you online, how can they do so?

The best way to get in touch with me directly is through LinkedIn.

Okay.

If you wish to email me, you can email me directly at matthew@bluemoxie.co.uk

Thank you so much for sharing that information and we'll make sure to put it in the show notes. And again, thank you so much for being on the show.

Absolutely, I’m more than happy and I will look forward to coming back.

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