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“Friends are more important than money. And I always try to make new friends and help them whenever I can.”

Donnie Cooper spent years studying the crap out of every SEO blog he could find on Google. He used all that learning to help a select few clients’ rank, get traffic & get rich by implementing as many tactics as they would let him.

The problem came when he realized he was spending too much time studying and not enough time executing. It’s the classic SEO trap that too many people fall into. Donnie is now spending his time executing all that stuff he learned, while waging war on procrastination & buck passing. He advocates for mastering the basics before even thinking about reading advanced theories on SEO blogs. He also advocates for learning to do web marketing in house instead of falling into the forever outsourcing trap.

MO: What was the hardest part about launching your own business?

Donnie: Analysis Paralysis. I thought I had to know everything possible about accomplishing a goal….before even taking first steps! Even quitting my job took over a year, because I studied and planned every possible outcome. Now of course, I know to just take next steps and make micro progress each day. Whatever your idea and whatever your goal…. you should study and do only what you need to in order to complete the next task on your checklist. I learned some of this from books, courses and blogs…but mostly from friends. That’s why to me, friends are more important than money. And I always try to make new friends and help them whenever I can.

MO: What are the most common SEO mistakes you see your clients making? How can they be avoided or corrected?

Donnie: I see a lot of small businesses try to outsource all their SEO activities and say something similar to “We don’t do that and don’t want to deal with it.” This is almost always a terrible choice, just like it would be if they tried to outsource their sales or offline advertising. A way better choice is to learn the basics and train staff to keep up the day to day activities. Then, hire a consultant if you need help creating the processes that will take you to the next level… but don’t just outsource the whole process and expect someone else to be solely responsible for your success.

MO: Can you elaborate a bit on the process of creating your own formula for SEO success?

Donnie: After working with dozens of clients and going through failures and success, I noticed common tasks that almost always work the best (and almost never fail). I call it the Parkinson’s Law of SEO, because it’s the 20% of activities that will deliver 80% of the result you’re looking for. The process really boils down to non technical action steps that resemble good old fashion business development.

MO: What are some of the key points that you can share after spending so much time studying SEO blogs?

Donnie: Don’t spend as much time studying SEO as I did. The whole SEO industry is full of technical people who approach web marketing as an introvert, meaning they tend to look for code tweaks to generate rankings and cash. Meanwhile, Google employs thousands of PHD scientists to figure out how to only rank companies that deserve it. So, seek to deserve it by spending your time on next steps you can take right now to get traffic. Start with the basics….

1. Get links that will send you leads. (80% of your time, money and creativity goes here).

2. Research keywords that your prospects are searching for, and write content about those keywords that will convert your prospects. (10% of resources go here).

3. Then, program (or pay someone to program) your cms so automatically uses your target keyword in all the right places. (10% of resources go here).

Focus your time on these steps, and you won’t care about the next algorithm update or SEO magicians who promise to “make you rank #1 and turn your business around”.

MO: What are some SEO trends that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?

Donnie: I’m actually excited that Google is making much harder for spammers and lazy business people to rank. There have been a lot of people working hard to deserve to rank for the last few years, and finally they are starting to get there (thanks to better algorithm updates). Also, social media matters more and more, but not in the way most SEO’s think. They think it matters because Google uses those signals in algorithms, but the real reason is because social can help you get leads and make sales. Focus on that and let Google figure out the rest.

MO: How do you plan to keep the momentum going?

Donnie: Ultimately, I wouldn’t lose much sleep if Google changed everything tomorrow and none of my clients ranked tomorrow. Why? Because we’ve focused on getting links that send leads, so the vast majority of our leads come from co-marketing and business development deals. It just so happens that search engines L.O.V.E. these type of links and the signals that come along with them (low bounce rates, high time on site, high conversion rates, return visitors, etc, etc). By building a process for getting links that send leads, my clients and I build a sustainable web marketing strategy that pays for a long time to come.

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