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From PPC to SEO: Unveiling the Secrets of Digital Marketing

In Conversation with Ronnie Katz

For this episode of E-coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Ronnie Katz, the CEO of BullsEye Internet Marketing. Ronnie discusses the importance of customizing strategies for each client and conducting thorough audits to determine the most effective digital marketing solutions. He highlights the significance of conversion-friendly websites and relevant landing pages in pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Watch the episode now for some profound insights!

We are experts at figuring out how to make our clients stand out online, giving them an advantage over their competitors. That’s first and foremost, we have a real knack for being able to do that and doing it consistently.

Ronnie Katz
CEO of BullsEye Internet Marketing

Hey.

Hi, everyone. This is Ranmay here back on your show, e coffee with experts. Today. We have Ronnie Katz with us, who is the CEO of BullsEye Internet Marketing. Welcome, Ronnie, to our show.

Thank you very much. Glad to be here.

Pleasure is all ours. Ronnie, before we go forward and understand and learn from you more about SEO and digital marketing at large, I request you to introduce yourself and Bullseye Internet marketing to our audiences.

Sure.

Be happy to do that. I’m Ronnie Katz. I’m the CEO and founder of Bullseye. And Bullseye was founded in 2006. We specialize in pay-per-click, which we’ve been doing now for over 18 years, and we also specialize in local SEO and reputation management. We’ve been a pioneer in the industry. We were one of the first to do pay-per-click, and we were one of the first to do call tracking with pay-per-click, where we could see the keywords that were leading to the conversions, and the phone calls that our clients were getting. We love the business. We’ve been doing it for many years, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else perfectly.

As you mentioned, you were one of the pioneers doing PPC in the industry. So what inspired you, Ronnie, to start both sides of Internet marketing, and what do you feel is your USP? Or what sets it apart from all the agencies that we have out there?

That’s an interesting question. And what inspired me to found Bullseye with my wife Sherry, I was working for a very large internet marketing company here in the US. The company did both in the United States and Canada, and I was running their southeastern United States operations. And as I was observing and watching what was going on back in those days, 2004, and 2005, I found that we were building a lot of websites for companies, and they weren’t performing the way clients were expecting them to, and people were very unhappy with the results they were getting. I ended up meeting a couple of gentlemen who developed technology to be able to track what keywords were getting the phones to ring, whether it was from SEO organic or pay-per-click. And I ended up going to our company and saying that instead of pushing the websites, I wanted to shift gears and push the services that would bring in more revenue for our clients. And the company had no interest in doing that. They wanted to continue building websites that didn’t work. They wanted to continue doing SEO that didn’t work. And in good faith and good conscience, I just couldn’t see myself doing that.

And I ended up leaving the company and founding Bullseye in 2006. So that’s the reason that Bullseye exists today. And I consider myself lucky that the company I was with didn’t listen to me. We ended up where we are today.

Yeah, absolutely.

We all look back and kind of feel that then. Those decisions were probably not as planned as it is as it looks today. But since we took that call now, we kind of have made it the way we are here, right?

Yes. As for what makes bullseye unique, several things make bullseye unique. We are experts at figuring out how to make our clients stand out online, giving them an advantage over their competitors. That’s first and foremost, we have a real knack for being able to do that and doing it consistently. We get our clients an above-average return on their investment consistently. We’re very responsive. We have best-in-class customer service. We blow people away with the service we perform. And in certain services, like Pay-Per-Click, we’re very different from the competition because we only take on one client in an industry targeting a specific geographic area. And as you know, most digital marketing agencies will take on as many clients as they can get. We found over time that dilutes the expertise that we share with our clients. We don’t think it’s fair. So we’ve made it a practice since our very first day in business to protect our clients by not sharing our expertise specifically for Pay-per-click, and that’s worked very well for us. And we have clients from our very first year in business that are still our client
So you’re talking 16-17 years. I think that’s quite a compliment. That’s basically what sets us apart. We get our clients results. Our biggest issue is that when we tell people what we can do, they tend in the beginning not to believe us because they hear it from everybody. We’re going to get you on the first page of Google. We’re going to do this, we’re going to do that. Clients are inundated by other digital marketing agencies that ruin it for everybody else. Legitimate companies and people are afraid of being scammed. So we’ve had to figure out ways how to overcome that’s our pain. We’ve had to figure out ways how we could gain trust and credibility with prospective new clients.

Absolutely. The industry got diluted up to an extent midway. So, yeah, I can’t help it. We have all been there trying to convince earlier the story was different, wherein at the beginning, life was really easy a midway. It became tough in terms because everyone was saying that first-page thing like you mentioned, right? And making the clients believe in us having the capabilities to be able to achieve that was a long walk in terms of convincing them on those discovery calls on those pitches. So can completely relate to that. And then you did mention, Ronnie, that about PPC, you’re primarily PPC experts. So can you please walk us through the process of developing a successful PPC strategy for a client? And what key parameters do you look at while doing so well?

When we get a prospective new client who comes to us, we don’t just arbitrarily decide we’re going to do a pay-per-click campaign for them. We start by doing a complete online presence audit. We look at their website, we look at their SEO, we look at their local SEO, we look at their competitors, and we custom-build every single campaign. We don’t offer packages like most agencies do. We custom develop and custom builds every plan. Because in our experience, when you offer cookie cutter, what I call cookie cutter packages, it’s trying to fit a square peg to a round hole. They don’t work. So we custom build everything and depending on what the industry is, we will come back to the client and we will come back with a custom plan of attack. If it’s a service industry like home services or professional services, like attorneys, we know from experience that the best way to get their phone ringing is either with a pay-per-click campaign or even better, a pay-per-call, pay-per-lead campaign, which we also do. We do a lot of work with Google Local Services ads and it’s been very successful for our clients.

So when we do decide that we’re going to recommend doing a pay-per-click campaign, we again look at what their website is like. Is it conversion friendly? Because a lot of times when people come to us, they’ll say, we got this website. It’s not producing any results. It doesn’t work. I’ve tried two or three different agencies. They haven’t been able to get me results. And lo and behold, we go online and we take a look and the first thing we notice is there’s no phone number on the website. It’s on a contact page that you got to hunt for. There’s no call to action. We know again from experience that if you run a pay-per-click campaign and somebody searches for a keyword carpet cleaning near me and the ad comes up from our clients, that’s the easy part, getting the ad to show up in a top position. The tough part is getting somebody to click on the ad. And even harder is making sure that the keyword is relevant to the ad, which is relevant to the landing page. Because if there’s not the relevancy that a person needs for the search, you’re going to lose them.

And you’ve got less than 10 seconds. In general, for somebody who’s searching online to decide they’re going to pick up the phone and call you. So pay-per-click is a lot different from SEO, Pay-per-click SEO. You want to see people staying on your page for a long time. You want to keep your bounce rates low. Pay-per-click kind of gets penalized by the search engines, by Google, because when it comes to service industries, people don’t stay on the page very long. They’re looking for a carpet cleaner they get online, they do their search, they see the people that are advertising and they make a very quick decision. In a few seconds I’m going to call this person and that’s what happens. So we have to make sure that the keyword is relevant to the ad which is relevant to the landing page. So that’s one thing that we focus on, and then we have to focus on is the information on the website. Is there, like, an executive summary at the very top of the page where people can see the phone number, a call to action, what are the company services, all the questions, the who, what, where, why, when, how to have.

To be answered quickly so they’re front and center so that when somebody gets to that website, they can make an informed decision that this is the company I want to pick up the phone and make an appointment with. So we start with that. Then what we do is we build all of our pay-per-clicks manually. We do not use the automated tools. We custom-build every single campaign. We of course use best practices but a lot of times best practices don’t work so well. And you can’t take what Google sets as default values., a lot of those default values have to be changed. You don’t want to necessarily do a national campaign which is the default value. You don’t want to necessarily use the display network which is a default value. You don’t want to necessarily use search partners. So it’s very important that when you’re building a campaign we found that we changed the settings to fit that particular client and what their objectives are. And if you don’t do that then the campaigns are not going to perform. It takes us, our average campaign, the average amount of the number of keywords is over 5000.

We use mainly exact match because we find that if you use broad match or phrase match, especially now that Google’s changed the relevancy and related keyword structure, there’s a lot of waste. We spend a lot of time proactively building a negative keyword list so that words that we don’t want our clients showing up for online, they will not show up. Once we get the campaign up and running, we look daily at what Google calls or Microsoft the search terms reports. And again we spend a lot of time setting a lot of words to negative keywords, especially with Google. Microsoft right now is much better than Google. We find that when we have an exact match keyword with Microsoft they’re pretty good at keeping it to that keyword. Whereas Google, we’ve seen some very strange keywords that they’re showing for our exact match keywords that don’t make any sense. So if you’re not careful and if you don’t properly manage a campaign you’re going to have a lot of problems.

Absolutely.

Thank you for the very detailed answer but I’ve opened a lot of eyes there in terms of how should you approach PPC campaigns and how you kind of strategize before stepping, before getting into it, and also talking about SEO strategy in terms of local SEO for that matter. So while you’re doing the local SEO for any new client of yours that has gotten on board recently, what are the key factors that you look into before starting that campaign for any local client? Local businesses for that matter, because that market has gotten a lot more cluttered versus where it was earlier because of the awareness towards strengthening their position online versus what it was earlier.

The first thing, again we do is like always with any type of campaign, be it pay-per-click, local SEO, or SEO, whatever it is, even a website design. We do an audit, and the audit will show us a couple of things. The audit will show us how many citations, and live citations they have. The audit will show us if they have any duplicate citations, which you do not want because it can hurt you. The audit will show us any nap errors, name, address, and phone number errors, which again, you want to make sure it’s 100% clean because that can hurt you. The audit shows us, we look at our clients within a 25 miles radius of their physical location, and we have an audit tool that shows us which position they’re in in the Google Local pack. And if they’re not in the first three positions, then within a 25 miles radius, they have an issue. So what we focus on for our clients when it comes to local SEO number one, we find that most clients, if not all, never have enough good high authority citations. So we will build the citations.

About 50% of us building citations is done with automated tools. But we also know, and this is something that sets us apart from other competitors, over 50% is done manually because the automated tools cannot do the automated tools make it easy to scale, so we can handle more clients efficiently, but they don’t do the job 100%. You have to go in, and I’ll tell you why. The reason they don’t do the job 100% is tools are made to be scalable. And most tools look at Google as the 10,000-pound gorilla in the room. And if Google says you’re allowed, for argument’s sake, ten pictures, and you’re allowed a description of 500 words, then the tool sets that as their default value. So maybe Google has 500 words they allow in their description, but maybe another citation, maybe Yelp allows 1000 words or Better Business Bureau allows 750 words. If you use the tool, you’re not optimizing the other citations fully, because you’re leaving empty spaces and slots in the tool. So you have to go back in and do it manually, or you’re not fully optimizing your campaigns. So our goal is to get our clients by the end of the fourth month, over 100 citations, high authority citations, and we do it consistently.

So again, that’s something else. If you use a tool, most tools, you get 40 citations, 50 citations, and 75 citations. We’re up to over 100 by the third 4th month. So that’s one thing. The second thing is that when it comes to the Google local pack, which ties into Google business profile, which used to be called Google My Business, and you’re in a service area type industry, again, I’ll use carpet cleaning as an example. Our goal is to get our clients in the top three spots, not just in their actual neighborhood or their physical location, but extending out as far as 25 miles. Google, the number one ranking factor for local SEO is proximity to your physical location. So it’s much easier if you’re located in Fort Lauderdale. It’s much easier to get you showing up in the first three positions in Fort Lauderdale. But if you move 20 miles out to Coral Springs, Florida, it’s much more difficult. So the way that the things that you have to look at, you have to look at the number of photos you have, the quality of the photos, the number of reviews you have, are you getting current reviews regularly?

And by current reviews, I don’t mean on Yelp. It’s got to be on your Google business profile or it’s not going to do you any good. So we work with our clients to consistently help them to get more and more reviews on an ongoing basis because that’s another big factor in getting the ranking up. In terms of local SEO, the other thing you have to look at is the authority. And by authority, what I mean is their scores and the reviews, they have to be over three, which is not very good in my opinion. We try to get our clients to between 4.5 and five because that’s what’s going to get them the best results. So when it comes to local SEO, the last thing we look at, which is also very important, is the service types that the clients have themselves listing, listed for. And one of the things we do, we review their competitors to see who’s ranking very highly in the local SEO. And we look at what categories, what service categories they’ve got themselves listed in. And a lot of times we find that our client’s people, they fill out their Google business profile, they think they’ve completed it, and then they just leave it alone and it’s going to run perfectly.

Well, it doesn’t work that way. You have to optimize continually and you have to look at all of the factors that I just mentioned.

Absolutely. It’s a mixed bag of so many factors that you cannot pinpoint that if I do this, everything is going to go fine. So you have to checkmark all the boxes out there. And in terms of, as you mentioned about PPC, you’ve been doing that for quite some time now. So how do you see Ronnie? How do you think the world of PPC or Google Ads has changed over all these years, and what do you think are the biggest challenges that any agency like yourself or us or these advertisers face day in, day out as of today?

Well, Google is making our life a lot easier, because they’re making it much more complex for people that want to self-manage their campaigns. Because, quite honestly, if you’re not up to date on the latest best practices and techniques, if you don’t take the proper amount of time to manage your campaigns daily, not weekly, not monthly, daily, then you’re not going to be successful. Over the years, it’s gotten much harder with Google because the costs keep going up, and the cost per conversion keeps going up. And the reason for that is that, as I already mentioned, the relevancy of the keywords when it used to be that if you said, I have an exact match keyword and I only want to show up for this keyword, you knew you were only going to show up for that keyword. And Google’s done is they’ve changed their process for determining which keywords are going to show up. So even if you use exact match, which most of our campaigns are, 99% exact match keywords, I’m amazed every day at what words Google is choosing to show our client’s campaigns for. So it’s getting harder and harder.

There’s more waste beside the pricing going up. There’s more and more waste in terms of the keywords that Google is allowing you to show up for, even when you use exact match. So we have to be very careful. We have to stay on top of the reporting, and we have to look at which words we have to make negative. And it’s become much more difficult over the years, much more difficult when it comes to our clients. When you look at benchmarks, when you look at the industry reports that come out, what’s a good click-through rate? What’s a good conversion rate? Our standards are way above what the industry averages are. Our click-through rates are higher. Our cost per acquisition is lower, which is good. Our conversion rates are higher, because, again, we don’t use a cookie-cutter approach. We custom build these campaigns, and I didn’t mention this yet 95% of all the work we’ve done we do is manual. We don’t use their automated bidding tools. The other thing that’s hurt Google in the last little while, in my opinion, is the responsive ads and the assets. You’ve got to build assets, headlines, and descriptions.

You’re basically at the mercy of Google and AI to determine the best-converting ads and how to put the ads together. And from what I see, I’m not convinced yet that it’s going to be a successful experiment. Since they got rid of the expanded text ads, it’s become much more difficult. It’s much more work. It’s not as effective. The other big thing I’ve noticed with Google is their customer support has gotten worse and worse over the years. You have a problem, you need help you can’t get. I feel sorry for the small businesses that are running their campaigns because I’m an agency with a lot of accounts, and I can’t even get proper support. So what about that small to medium-sized business that is trying to run their campaign and they have a problem, they need help? Where do they go? It’s impossible with Google. So one of the things we’ve done is we’ve shifted a lot of business to Microsoft and we’re getting very good results. And we’ve shifted a lot of business to Google Local Services Ads, which is a pay-per-lead program that applies to about 70 different industry types.

So if you’re lucky enough to be included in one of those industry types, at least you have the option to continue advertising on Google. Having said all of that, we’re still getting our clients above-average results.

That’s brilliant. That’s your skill set, right? Great. And with the increase in complexity of the Google Ads platform and the growing number of targeting options available to our advertisers, how can businesses ensure that they’re effectively reaching out to the target audience and driving conversion from the PPC campaigns as well?

That’s easy.

They can call me.

That was a good one. That was a great pitch right there.

Yeah.

Actually.

They’ve got cross every t and dot, every I. You can’t assume you don’t assume anything. You don’t assume that the default settings in Google are correct. You must go through setting by setting and say, does this make sense for my business? Does this meet my objectives? Is the geography targeting right? Are the times and the days of the week that I want to show my ads right? Am I leaving money on the table? Am I wasting money? Which assets and my ads are performing? Which assets aren’t? Are you AB testing? Are you changing up the ads and are you changing up the bids? And again, we don’t use automated bidding. We do everything manually. Okay, that’s a lot more work. And again, we’re one of the few agencies that do it that way. And again, as I told you earlier, we’re one of the only agencies that I know of that when it comes to pay-per-click, we only take on one client in an industry targeting a specific geography. So by doing that, we might have 50 carpet cleaner accounts throughout the United States and Canada, and Britain, but not one of them.

They’re not competing against each other. So we’re not spreading our expertise and sharing it with our client’s competitors. So that’s a big thing for me. Because most agencies, don’t care about that. They take on as many clients as they can get. They don’t protect their clients, they’re not loyal. There’s a lot of churn in the industry, and by churn, I mean clients come and go with us. We look for long-term relationships. We’re not interested in taking on a client for a month or two or three. We’re looking for clients that when we show them that these campaigns are successful, they’re going to stay with us for years and years.

Absolutely. This is a very good strategy for geographically picking up your customers so that you can go all out and not bother about your client’s competition being your client.

Right.

You do not have to be bothered, from that perspective at least, and just go bang. I mean, all ballistic about it. Great. And you did mention, Ronnie, about AI at some point during our conversation. I cannot let you go without understanding your point of view, your take on this burning topic, and this storm that we are all in about AI. Chat GPT Bard coming through. So what is your take on it? Where are we heading?

I think it has its place. Will have its place. I don’t think we’re there yet, I can tell you that. I was testing something just yesterday. I was trying to build YouTube video descriptions using AI-generated video descriptions. And it’s not even close to being perfect. So, to my mind, it’s much easier to go in and do it the old-fashioned way and to figure out what your objective is and what the video is about and to manually write the description. Yes, it’s more time-consuming, but if you want to the descriptions on YouTube are important for a couple of reasons. One, it helps clients understand what the video is about, and it also helps search engines understand what’s the video which gets you higher rankings on YouTube. But it’s not working properly. I’ve looked at it for copywriting. Again, it’s far from perfect because we’re finding that the number one thing, when we look at copywriting, you want unique and original content.

Yeah.

And we look at plagiarism. And when you have AI right content, we find that Plagiarism runs somewhere between seven and 15%, which in my opinion, is too high. And you find that if you’re running similar if you’re writing content for similar pages, a lot of the content is being regurgitated. And it’s very similar, very close. It’s not unique enough. So, again, I’m not a big proponent of AI. I think it needs to be perfected. I think at some point it could have some very big benefits, but I don’t believe we’re there yet.

Great.

Thank you for that detailed insight, Ronnie. I’m sure our audiences would have benefited a lot from what they heard in terms of strategies, in terms of local SEO, PPC, the detailed insight which you shared and before we let you go. We want to play a Rapid Fire with you. I hope you are game for it.

Sure. Great.

Superb.

What is your favorite book?

Stranger in a strange land Robert Heinlein.

Okay.

Your last Google search?

The last Google search would have been you.

Can use the system if you want to.

No.

Florida Panthers. I wanted to see what time the hockey game was tonight.

Okay.

And are you a morning person or a night person?

Night. Okay.

And let’s say if a movie was made on you, what genre would it be?

Don’t say PPC.

Would it be science fiction?

Okay.

Nice.

And the thing that you like the most about your work, it can be your office, can be your colleagues, whatever.

Could it be a tie? What if I have two?

Go ahead.

I’m very lucky because I have clients that I love working with, to be able to speak with them regularly, I enjoy. The same thing goes with the people that I work with to be able to have that camaraderie, fun, and friendship. So that’s one thing that I love. The other thing that I love is I get just as excited today as I did 18-20 years ago. When my clients get the results that we tell them they’re going to get. So we get a new client comes on board. And he says to me, how long is this going to take? And SEO can take four to twelve months. Local SEO can take anywhere from two to six weeks. Pay-per-click can be instantaneous. So when we get to see the calls, phone calls coming in, or the bookings coming in, or the sales coming in, we get very excited. And we get just as excited, I believe, as our clients get for themselves, we get excited for our clients. So those are the two things. I love what I do. I’m very passionate about it. We’re a very passionate company about it.

I wouldn’t trade it in for anything else. I can work from anywhere in the world, which is great. My wife, because even when we’re on vacation, I’m still working. But I love what I do.

Great about that flexibility part in terms of working from anywhere. I guess our industry is lucky that way. We all are. And COVID has taught us a lot of lessons. But yeah, in terms of flexibility, we were always there.

Yes.

COVID has been great in the sense I don’t even have to go up and visit clients anymore because everybody’s used to online.

Right.

They’ve started understanding everything online versus what we used to do sitting in their offices earlier.

Right.

Can you come to see me? I want to speak to you about starting a campaign. I’ll send you a calendar link and we can set something up online.

Yeah, the clients have become more tolerant that way. More accommodating, I would say.

Yes.

Great. So thank you. Thank you so much, Ronnie, for taking out time for this podcast here. And we appreciate your time and can’t thank you enough for sharing those detailed insights about how you go about doing PPC, local SEO, SEO, and Digital Marketing at large. So, yeah, really appreciate your time.

Thank you very much. Appreciate you, too.

Thank you. Have a good day.

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