This episode of the Local Business Leaders podcast covers Local SEO and local SEO for attorneys, with some great practical, real-world examples of how lawyers can make an immediate impact on their local organic search engine visibility. Learn high impact local lawyer SEO tips & tactics with Sherry Bonelli.
Sherry Bonelli is a nationally recognized local SEO expert and digital marketing professional. She entered the digital marketing world in 1998 when she launched her first ecommerce business selling pregnancy and baby products. Her ecommerce site was selected as one of the top 10 websites by a leading pregnancy magazine, and she appeared on the TODAY Show, CNN, ABC News and other media outlets.
Her digital marketing agency, early bird digital marketing, is located in Cedar Rapids, IA, but she serves clients all over the U.S. Sherry is passionate about helping her clients grow their businesses.
As a guest columnist for some of the leading SEO and digital marketing websites, like:
- Search Engine Land
She’s earned recognition by having some of the most shared local SEO blog posts in the world and one of her blog posts was recently recognized as Search Engine Land’s second most popular column in 2017.
To fill her head with even more knowledge, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Internet Marketing in the Fall of 2016. Sherry is a frequent speaker at industry events, webinars and podcasts where she shares her vast knowledge on all things digital marketing.
In her “spare” time she volunteers as a SCORE Mentor for the SCORE East Central Iowa Chapter. As a SCORE mentor, she enjoys helping fledgling businesses identify their digital marketing strategies.
Resources & Links
- You can learn more about Sherry by visiting www.earlybirddigitalmarketing.com.
- Sherry’s bonus offer: get a free website analysis here.
- Connect with Sherry Bonelli on LinkedIn
- Learn more about search engine friendly web design.
About Sherry Bonelli
Phil Singleton: So, tell us a little bit … We read your bio out, which is awesome. Lots of great stuff, lots of great experience today, so we do plan to pick your brain and get some hacks, and I know you. I’ve known you for a while and I know you’ve got a lot of expertise in a lot of different areas, but I always think of you in terms of your local SEO knowledge, so we’re gonna definitely tap into that.
Sherry Bonelli: Perfect.
Phil Singleton: Tell us how you got into this and got started and what brought you here today.
Sherry Bonelli: Well, it was a fluke actually. In 1998, I had my first son and I thought of a baby product idea and so I invented that. I found that that alone was not a good thing to sell. You need to sell more than one product, so I set up an e-commerce website. It was really pathetic at the time. PayPal, nobody knew what PayPal was, and literally my first e-commerce sale was a check I got in the mail through the US Postal Service.
Phil Singleton: Nice.
Sherry Bonelli: So, yeah. So, that’s how scared people were about commerce online, but it was great experience for me. So, everything I know about search engine optimization and digital marketing … All self-taught, which I think is great because you could test on your own website and make changes and see results as you go, and so it’s just been great. So, I’ve been doing it for 19 years now and now I help lots of local businesses with their digital marketing and SEO efforts, and it’s just so much fun. I love how the industry changes. I love how clients … I love educating them. I think that’s the one thing I find most interesting is talking with clients and explaining why they need the services that they need. So, it was literally by accident.
Phil Singleton: But you started in digital marketing and pretty much never looked back, so have you pretty much been in digital since then or have you jumped around different types of ventures or …
Sherry Bonelli: Yes, pretty much been digital. I’ve done a few … I worked for a publishing industry, technology publishing industry for about 15 years as well, so I have a strong editorial background in technology publishing. So, it’s neat because they are combining right now, which is fantastic. But I’ve done a lot of project management work as well, but I’ve always, always tinkered or had my hand in the digital marketing world because I’m just so fascinated by it and love it so much.
Phil Singleton: You know what’s really interesting what you said, too, is I mean, I started in digital over 15 years ago myself, and when we started or when you started there really wasn’t a whole lot of online resources like there are now.
Sherry Bonelli: Right.
Phil Singleton: There’s all sorts of courses and of course places like Moz and other places. There’s all sorts of places where you can jump up and get up to speed really quickly, but I think back 15 years ago or so we all had to self-study.
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, we did.
Phil Singleton: And now here you are. You’re a major contributor and influencer and trying to help educate and bring some of your knowledge into some of these other places like we mentioned at the top of the show. So, you contribute for Search Engine Land and Yext and Moz and some of these other places and that’s helping bring the new generation of digital marketers up to speed, so that’s really cool.
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, and one thing I think that’s interesting is a lot of people when they think about Search Engine Land or Moz they automatically think we have to write or put an article up about something that’s advanced, an advanced topic. But what a lot of people don’t think about is there’s this whole new generation that are coming out of school and they may know social media, but search engine optimization usually is not taught in school or colleges, and so you do have a lot of people that need to learn search engine optimization basics, but they’re in other industries or different marketing aspects. So, I always feel like there’s a need for introductory material on any of these websites.
Phil Singleton: Yeah, and as you mentioned, it’s always changing so it’s almost like we’re writing new introductory material on some part of the shifting sand of search engine optimization or digital that we’ve got to almost write the new cheat sheets for.
Sherry Bonelli: Absolutely. Yep, that’s exactly right.
Local SEO for Lawyers
Phil Singleton: So, let’s dive into something specific. On this show we like to talk about things that are working for people today, but I like to try and drill down into some specific niche or area or some type of business where we can really try and figure out what those guys are doing, what’s working for them, or small things or changes that they can make that might make a big change in terms of their visibility or even online leads. So, today we want to talk a little bit about attorneys and Sherry, I think you’ve got some examples or some comments on how you think these guys might be able to take a look at their local presence, make some changes or look into certain areas that might actually help make a big difference.
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, for any local business the holy grail is getting in Google Local 3-Pack, and Phil, as you know, it used to be a seven pack and then they shrunk it down, and it’s getting more and more competitive to be in that small, little spot that takes up so much room on the first page of search results. And so it’s really competitive and there are a couple different approaches when you’re talking about attorneys, because often you’ll have a law firm with a name. Let’s say law firm Cedar Rapids and within that office there are several attorneys. So, the challenge that those individual attorneys have is how do I stand out among my peers at this office. So, in essence they’re competing against one another, and it’s a really tricky thing because Google …
When it comes to pertaining to Google My Business they don’t like to see the same type of professionals at the same address, and so there’s little rules that you want to know about with regard to sole practitioners or practitioners, and one of my attorney clients, she was not ranking well on the Local 3-Pack or even getting on Maps. She was just ranking really low, and what I realized is that we had her listed just as a lawyer, and so were all of her competitors. And she primarily focuses on family law, so I said, “Let’s try something different. Let’s go ahead and change your category in Google My Business to family law, and I kid you not, almost immediately we saw a spike in where she showed up on Google My Business.
…for any local business the holy grail is getting in Google Local 3-Pack.
Sherry Bonelli, Early Bird Digital Marketing
Phil Singleton: That’s okay.
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, and it’s trial and error because sometimes you want to mirror are do the same thing that the high ranking competitors are doing with regard to categories, but sometimes you want to change it up and be different form them in order to stand out.
Phil Singleton: Awesome, so really just making a small change like that sometimes can make a huge difference, because like you said, I mean, some of these guys like all the … We’ve got some clients that you work hard and you’ll see if you look on the first page on the regular, organic search results maybe you’ll only see three or what I would say is three and a half. Now I think sometimes they show the ads, right?
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah.
Phil Singleton: Even on desktop, but you’ll go into the actual map view on organic search and you’ll see sometimes some of these guys are only … They’re listed fourth or fifth, so sometimes it’s only a feather’s weight of difference that can yank you into the next one, and then sometimes it can make you … A small thing like you’re saying, just being misclassified in a Google My Business category or not maybe being classified accurately enough to what the actual category niche is can help you pull right up in there. So, that’s a fantastic result where somebody can go in and just have an expert like yourself say, “Hey, wait a minute. Look here.” It doesn’t look like it’s a big deal because you are a lawyer, but if we reclassify this to what you actually specialize your practice in it could make a difference and it did.
Sherry Bonelli: It really does make a difference and I actually talked with her yesterday and she got two more calls just yesterday for family related practices with regard to child custody, and one of the women lived in Georgia but she had a case here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. So, the fact that she’s being found now is amazing. I mean, she’s just thrilled, and I know that a lot of that has to do with how I’m managing her online directories and her Google My Business listing, so we’re real active about creating posts, which are important, answering questions. So, if clients aren’t taking advantage of the Q&A feature like Google My Business now offers that’s something that definitely they should keep an eye out for, because anybody can ask their business a question and the scary thing is anybody can answer that question as well. And so, Google has released a lot of really neat features that are available to businesses and agencies that they can do on behalf of their client. They just need to know about these little things that are gonna improve those rankings and the search results for their clients.
Phil Singleton: So, that’s something … Just to recap a little bit on this. Say you’re an attorney in a city, you’re trying to get better visibility … It sounds like in this case … I know from your expertise you zeroed in on Maps because that’s a way to get a quick win for a client, and you actually got it. You were spot on, so we went in and we made in and we made sure that we reclassified. When you do that did you also … Did you move the primary and add different ones or did you just say, “Let’s just classify you as a family lawyer and drop anything else, and do you have any recommendations on do you add more types within the Google My Business or do you just try and do one on one?
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, no, we did keep several of the other Google My Business lower level categories, so she did have some of the other categories, but we made her prime category family practice.
Phil Singleton: Go ahead.
Sherry Bonelli: It can be trial and error, so it could be that maybe you need to get rid of those other categories because it’s diluting Google’s view of your business. So, it can be a trail and error, but the thing is once you get it pinned down and nailed down and you got it right it makes a big difference. So, it’s just a matter of seeing what your competitors are doing and either emulating what they’re doing and try that, and if that doesn’t work do the exact opposite of what they’re doing.
Phil Singleton: Local agency or a local business … I mean, I think really a lot of people don’t realize that some of the lowest, lowest hanging fruit is really going in there and cleaning up Google My Business and the Maps as quickly as you can because you can get really, really quick wins on all this stuff. You did a Q&A, you looked at the category, and then you mentioned … I know something that you have a lot of experience with is on citations.
Sherry Bonelli: Yes.
Phil Singleton: How would you recommend, and for people that are listening to this obviously marketers are gonna know what we’re talking about when we talk about citations, but an attorney might be like, “What do you mean by a citation?” So, can you define that a little bit and then tell me if say I’m a lawyer and I want to get citations, what service or services would you want to put me on today. If I’ve got a mess how would I clean that up as quickly as possible?
Local SEO Citations for Attorneys & Small Businesses
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, definitely online directories and/or citations are a mess. A citation basically refers to any place your company’s name, address, and phone number is listed, and online business directories or online directories are essentially the same thing. There’s a modern darn Yellowbook online essentially. And I have a lot of clients that say, “Why do I need this? Nobody goes to Merchant Circle to look for my business,” and they don’t. They right, clients don’t go to those directories to search for businesses, but the search engines trust those online directories and pull in those business information into the first page of search results in a lot of cases.
So, there are different services out there that will manually go out and claim your Google My Business listings and also yellowpages.com, Merchant Circle and about 50 to 60 other prominent, highly reputable, authoritative online directories or citation sites. BrightLocal is one of them, Whitespark is another. Moz has a feature where they will go out and find online directory or citation listings as well, and you can also manually do it yourself. Yext is another option and there are a few pros and cons with Yext, but there are several different ways that an agency can go about cleaning up their online directories. And what I tell clients is it has to be a monthly thing.
…you have to manage citations on continual basis, it’s like flu vaccine for your website.
Sherry Bonelli, Early Bird Digital Marketing
It has to be an ongoing service, and people ask me, “Well, Sherry, if I fix it can’t I just leave it? Why do I have to pay for it every month?” The reason is if you think about the online directories or the citation sites as a big database or a spiderweb, all of them are all interconnected and they feed off of one another, so if you have one directory that has misinformation in it, eventually it’s going to get populated into other directories and then it’s gonna spread like a virus. So, I use the analogy of just because you got the flu shot this year doesn’t mean you’re not gonna get the flu three years from now. You still have to keep up with getting the flu shots, taking care of your health, washing your hands, and that’s what the online directory services do each month is to make sure that your online directories have a clean bill of health, basically.
Phil Singleton: Right, and it’s not some … In my opinion, it’s not some marketing ploy where these citation companies are out there saying, “You’ve gotta do this.” We, as SEO people, know that having an accurate map, name, address, phone number on these types of places are a very important and heavily weighted local ranking factor, otherwise there would be no reason to pay for a service to do this every month. And the reason you have it is it helps you get up into the Maps, it helps your local, organic search results, and doing some of this stuff is the reason why it makes a lot of sense to pay for it.
I love the analogy, almost like it’s this antivirus type of service that you’re doing. You’re getting your site vaccinated every year, because that’s really what it’s all about and given the importance that it has makes a lot of sense. So, any other tips you’d have for an attorney that’s coming and listening to this and saying, “Geez, I think we could be doing better. We haven’t really hired anybody.” There’s still … I know a lot of people out there, even traditional lawyers are some that I would say even dip in their toes in digital marketing, which is hard to think of but it’s true.
Sherry Bonelli: It is.
Phil Singleton: Where would you … Get somebody to help you out with Google Maps, let’s clean up your citations … I mean, when somebody comes to you with a new engagement, you’ve got an attorney, are you trying to work on their website a little bit first or are you trying to so some of these maybe off-page things to try and show them some results and where would you … Where would you tell an attorney to get started if, say, they maybe had the budget to do a full scale program but they were like, “I want to try to see if you can help me out with these few areas first.” Is there any other things, next steps after citations and Google My Business to get them, keep them moving.
…I cannot stress enough, lawyers should not set up more than one Google My Business listing. Google frowns on adding extra words that describe what type of lawyer you are
Sherry Bonelli, Early Bird Digital Marketing
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, that’s a great question, Phil. Before we leave the Google My Business topic I cannot stress enough that lawyers should not set up more than one Google My Business listing. Google frowns on adding extra words that describe what type of lawyer you are, so for instance if your name is Suzy Smith and that’s it you don’t want to say, “Suzy Smith, best criminal defense lawyer in San Diego,” as your Google My Business listing name.
Phil Singleton: I think they still do this all the time.
Sherry Bonelli: They do.
Phil Singleton: In a digital space they should know better, but even in some of the other spaces where they maybe have an excuse of not knowing. Even there’s some spammy agencies out there, still. So, that’s great advice.
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, yeah. I was actually working with a client in a recent article that I did for Search Engine Land or Moz. There was an attorney that literally had four different listings because he thought it would help him rank higher, and what that will do is it will eventually get you reported or Google will find out and you’ll get cut, essentially. So, it doesn’t pay to try and cheat the system. So, I always recommend doing Google My Business, Bing Places for Business. Don’t forget about Bing, and then all the other online directories and if you go to Yext, they have a pretty good list of online directories that they target. Those are all pretty … Those are all authoritative directories that you’d want to get listen on.
Don’t go with the shady ones. Don’t go with the ones that aren’t trustworthy or that don’t have brand recognition. So, if it shows up on the first or second page of Google you know that a directory or a citation site is good. Now, lawyers are lucky because there’s also niche directories for attorneys like Avvo and a few other ones. So, attorneys also can get listen on these other online directories, and sometimes there are fees for those and then sometimes there aren’t. So what I generally do with attorneys is I’ll work on their online directories first, get them all straightened out, their Google My Business listing cleaned up, make sure we’re active on that by adding posts and answering questions, and then the next thing is to go in and see what their website’s like.
I’m a firm believer of content. I really feel that the internet thrives on content. I also believe that nobody is going to be reading an attorney’s blog at all. I don’t think they’re going to, so my philosophy with regard to content on a lawyer’s site is to create pages that connect to other pages on their site that answer questions people are asking about their issue.
So, if they are going for more custody for their child support what questions are they asking, and then write a page about that for their site, then link to it from their child support page. So, instead of creating a blog, which again, most people aren’t going to read a lawyer’s blog because hopefully they’re not in that much legal trouble, but you’ll increase the odds of showing up because you’re finding out what questions people are really asking and then you’re giving them answers to those questions, and that’s gonna build trust with those prospective clients or customers.
Phil Singleton: Awesome, so the next step into that, really, is to start diving into their website and then we’re starting off with content and then making sure, like you were saying, let’s just not put content for the sake of content. Let’s do it in ways that people are gonna actually get value from it, answer questions and that kind of stuff, and that’s how you start attacking that website. Because to me, the website’s really the key to everything. We’re trying to make that the referral source for everything so we can Pixel them and do AdWords, all sorts of stuff maybe down the road as they start to buy in to digital strategy, but that’s a great place to start. I guess at that point then you show them how it works and the payoff and then sometimes these guys and ladies are turning into clients.
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah. Yeah, it’s great. So, the other thing is to make sure title tags and description tags are appropriately named. Don’t ever use just “Home” as a title. That doesn’t make sense, and when you explain to clients that you think of the title tag as an ad headline and the description as an ad copy, ask them to read it to themselves and flat out ask them, “Would you click on that link?” And in most cases they flat out tell me, “No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t click on that,” and to get them to understand that’s the purpose of it. If you show up in those search results you get one shot to have that person click on your listing in the search results. You want to have a title and a description that’s gonna have their attention, and that’s what I help them do.
Phil Singleton: Is get that start. That’s amazing how many sites still just have Home.
Sherry Bonelli: Or About.
Phil Singleton: Right, and we just think for us that’s basically where on page starts is that’s SEO 101. To do that piece of it, but it’s still out there all over the place and I think a lot of people need that help, too, just to get the basics down, and sometimes you’re talking about low hanging fruit on making a category change, and sometimes some of these sites that have been around for a long time … It’s a similar type of thing where you make a couple fundamental changes and you almost uncork some of the SEO value because you were dragging it down just by not having some of the fundamental things set up and we’ve had, and I’m sure you’ve had also, some wins just by applying some basic on page SEO stuff that we would think would be a natural … But it’s not, sometimes people are just holding themselves back because they haven’t even applied the basics.
Seriously, I was like, “Oh, my gosh. You can’t do that anymore.” I said, “That worked 19 years ago, it doesn’t work anymore.”
Sherry Bonelli, Early Bird Digital Marketing
Sherry Bonelli: Well, or they receive misinformation. I was at an audiologists’ conference. An audiologist is basically someone who specializes in hearing, hearing loss, and hearing aids, and he came up to me after I gave my presentation and he’s like, “Yeah, we’re doing really good. We even put keywords in white font on our website,” and I’m going, “Oh, my gosh. People still do that?”
Phil Singleton: You’re starting to cry…
Sherry Bonelli: Seriously, I was like, “Oh, my gosh. You can’t do that anymore.” I said, “That worked 19 years ago, it doesn’t work anymore.”
Phil Singleton: 2005 called, it wants its SEO tactic back.
Sherry Bonelli: Exactly, so I’m still surprised at how many people are still misinformed as to the basics of SEO, and so that’s why I’ve been really, really trying to get colleges … I’ve been doing a lot of outreach to colleges saying that anybody who’s in any type of communication, marketing, or social media, or programing, web development program, SEO should be a course that’s required. I really believe that.
Phil Singleton: I totally agree. I tell people, too, look at the stock market. The five most valuable companies in the world right now are Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and I’m missing one, but the five of them are … It’s basically the entire digital marketing landscape. They should have classes on each one of those in college because that’s where all the action is, so that’s a great point because the stock market’s saying that’s where the action is and why aren’t our schools teaching it.
Sherry Bonelli: Exactly. Yeah, and it’s been a tough … I mean, it’s been a tough pull. I mean, we actually offered one at a local college here, but I just don’t think they promoted it right. Now, had they gotten me in the room to promote it to the web developers and programmers I could’ve probably signed up 100 kids, but if you put it in a catalog and say it’s an optional course they’re not gonna pay attention to it. But they need to know the importance of it because most developers and designers … SEO is not their forte, but they still need to know enough of it to do benefit when they’re redesigning a website or developing a website.
Phil Singleton: Amen. Before we get to the wrap up section of the show I wanted to circle back on one thing, and that was you’d mentioned some of … Say we were talking about attorneys today, might have duplicate listings or listings in their personal name or their firm name. If you see that happen, I mean, what … Is it one of the sites like a Yext that’s gonna help you clean that up, do they have to manually do it, they have to claim it and delete it, what’s your recommended or what do you think the best way is to attack if you’ve got all these duplicate listings.
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, it’s a tricky situation and generally every situation is different, so I tend to do a lot of research on the pros and cons and best practices before each and every change I make.
Phil Singleton: So, that’s case by case almost?
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, it really is. The other thing you can do is go to the Google My Business forum. I don’t have the URL with me.
Phil Singleton: I’ll put it in the show notes.
Sherry Bonelli: Yep, we can do it there. And you can literally ask any type of question regarding Google My Business and there are a list of top contributors that will help answer those questions and you can even reach out to Google directly. Typically if they’re all okay you can merge them into one, that’s generally the best. For instance, I have one client right now who used to have their own video production company with a separate name. They had a music studio with a separate name. Those two businesses merged to create a third company at a new address and so my job right now is to figure out the best way to merge all three of those businesses without losing the name value that each of those businesses had separately. So, I’m doing a lot of research and a lot of due diligence before I even make one change because it’s very important that you do it correctly.
Phil Singleton: I totally agree and I think it’s almost amazing that we’re talking about one just really super important online directory. Does it really warrant this much time and effort and almost concern that you do it wrong, yeah it does.
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, it does.
Phil Singleton: It’s what makes the phone ring more than anything else, so you have to take it seriously and keep an eye on it and be really careful. Really, in this case I really do think it’s very important to hire an expert like you, Sherry, to have people walk through it because you can do damage. And the more you mess things up the harder … I just gave you an example in the green room before the call. I was literally on the phone and one move from one client to another one it took me 20 phone calls to Google to get that one very important listing updated. If I would’ve known what I’d known in the beginning it might’ve only taken five phone calls, but luckily we did it and there was no damage and they were able to recover everything and it helped out in a way. Yeah, it is that important, especially if you’re local like an attorney or anything else. These local listings, especially Google, are super important for your business. So, that is really helpful.
Sherry Bonelli: The other thing I’d recommend, too, is as you get these questions answered write them down and refer back to them next time you have a scenario like that. So for instance, I have just a Google My Business cheat sheet where I’ll write down this is a scenario, this is what I did, and this is the answer that the Google top contributor told me to do, so that if I ever come across that same issue again I know the answer right away. So, document everything if you can.
Sherry’s Favs in Cedar Rapids
Phil Singleton: Awesome. So, one thing I like to ask is circle back, make it a little more personal now. You’re in Cedar Rapids, I’ve never been to Cedar Rapids.
Sherry Bonelli: You’re not missing much.
Phil Singleton: Give us a shout out to something. I mean, you must … If you’re away what do you Jones for? Is there a great coffee shop or a local restaurant or anything [inaudible 00:28:33] time you say, “You’ve gotta try this.”
Sherry Bonelli: Well, I will tell you Cedar Rapids is affectionately known internally as the City of Five Smells because we have several different food manufacturing plants here. So, Quaker Oats is right down the street downtown, so you can tell when they’re making Crunch Berries or certain types of cereal. There are a variety of smells in Cedar Rapids, but Cedar Rapids is really known for Rockwell Collins, which is an aerospace big company that works with the military and also private airplanes with navigation systems and heads up units for military soldiers, and Rockwell Collins probably employs 99.9% of the people in Cedar Rapids.
Phil Singleton: Wow.
Sherry Bonelli: But as far as coffee shops go, Aurora’s coffee shop.
Phil Singleton: Aurora, okay. Cool.
Sherry Bonelli: Yep, awesome. Great coffee, great service.
Phil Singleton: Awesome, and I was just thinking when you were saying that, whatever the five smells are in terms of the food manufacturers it’s probably the lowest sales that they have are in Cedar Rapids if people smell it so much. Last thing I’m gonna do is buy a Quaker Oats product.
Sherry Bonelli: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Depending on the way the wind blows it’s some days are better than others.
The $10,000 Question
Phil Singleton: That’s funny. Thank you for that. Get a little personal there, and then finally, the 10,000 dollar question, which is you’re gonna wake up tomorrow in this hypothetical … Have all the knowledge that you’ve accumulated since 1998 but none of the money, none of the contacts and you gotta rebuild what you have today. I mean, what would you literally start tomorrow to pay the same bills that you have today. So, would it be a website, would you start guest posting on things, how would you start to rebuild what you’ve already started now?
Sherry Bonelli: If I were to start all over again I think I would go back to creating an e-commerce store again. I think that was one of the most exciting times of my life and maybe it’s just because I’m nostalgic and it was really big learning curves for me, but I think I would go back to selling pregnancy and baby related products again. I really do.
Phil Singleton: Awesome, and then you have all the ammo you need to get that off the ground because you’ve got … We gave you your knowledge, so interesting.
Sherry Bonelli: Yep.
Phil Singleton: Plus I think it’s interesting that you started off in a niche because we look at things today and it’s … People come to you and they want to sell all these products online, be the next Amazon. That’s never gonna happen, but if you can niche into something, something specific like baby products, build your content, maybe try and build some personal branding authority around it, you can actually start to attack and compete with some of the big boys in some of these e-commerce spaces just by having this focus on a certain area because you’re never gonna be the next Amazon or whatever and try and compete with everybody. So, we still get that sometimes. People coming in, “I want to sell all this kind of stuff.”
Sherry Bonelli: Right.
Phil Singleton: If you’re looking for SEO it’s gonna be really tough to do that and become the next Best Buy and stuff. If you’re gonna zero in on something like shoelaces or baby products … Yeah, maybe you’ve got a chance.
Sherry Bonelli: The things you need to zero in on are the products that those big stores are not carrying. So, for instance when I got started I specifically looked for mom invented baby products, and so my whole store was filled with literally unknown companies who eventually started to make money and make it big and now a lot of them are in Walmarts and Targets, but when I got started they were small just like me. So, if you’re going to an e-commerce store pick a niche that not … Target and Walmart, they don’t have products in their stores. So, really find those unique products that’s difficult to find somewhere else.
Phil Singleton: Awesome. Okay, and then finally let’s … Tell us how people can find you. Your main website, where else can we find you? What social media networks are you most active on so people can connect with you and anything that you have in terms of a promotion or an offer that you might be working on or something to send somebody to. Let us know that and we’ll …
Sherry Bonelli: Yeah, thanks. So, anybody can reach me at earlybirddigitalmarketing.com and I also am very active on Twitter and Facebook, but if you go up to earlybirddigitalmarketing.com you will see a spot where you can run a free SEO report.
Phil Singleton: Nice.
Sherry Bonelli: And that will give you a good idea as far as what your reputation is, what are people saying about you online, how is your website doing as far as speed, load time. I have probably four different reports that we can run, so at the top navigation you can see that. So, just look for the SEO report and you can get free information and if you need my help go ahead and email me and I’m happy to help you out.
Phil Singleton: Awesome. Sherry Bonelli, thank you so much. You are a true expert and I just wanted to know what you do. So happy to have a guest of your caliber on the show and hope to have you on again sometime.
Sherry Bonelli: Great, thanks, Phil. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Phil Singleton: Thank you.