Dennis Yu

Decoding SEO for Local Businesses: 14,000 Variables or Timeless Signals?

So, this data leak on the API came out that there are 14,000 variables that Google looks at to determine whether your local service business is Googleable and whether you’re lying in SEO. 

As a result, all the “SEO experts” have gone nuts trying to deconstruct the clickstream data, saying things like “the overall domain matters, not just the page,” and “Google’s lying about this and that.” 

They think using keywords a certain way, posting on social media frequently, using hashtags, or specific tools will fool Google. They might buy links, use triangular links, cloaking, PBNs, and other tricks. They act like liars trying to appear honest.

But think of it as a lie detector test.

You and I are honest. We’re not worried about trying to trick the lie detector test.

If you’re a plumber in San Antonio and you’re honest about actually doing what you say you do, Google will recognize it and it will manifest in great reviews and an increased number of people visiting your site. The way Google picks up on your signals is outlined in their 170-page document that is updated regularly. It’s called the Search Quality Raters Guidelines.

Reading this document can be enlightening. It explains what E-E-A-T means and how to demonstrate experience, expertise, authority, and trust. Showing evidence of your work, like videos of your team performing tasks, reviews, and other activities, supports your authenticity. This evidence should be visible on various platforms like blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more.

Google’s Knowledge Graph connects all these elements. It’s a vast database where everything is connected.

In Google Analytics, you can track user behavior, such as the content they click on, the videos they watch on your YouTube channel, and their interactions with your social media presence. All these signals will be consistent if you’re a genuine business.

When we are honest, we don’t have to worry about the constant changes: it’s timeless. Google has simply become more sophisticated in approximating these different signals. Danny Leibrandt discussed this in a podcast with Greg Gifford, who also confirmed our views – it’s all about signal analysis.

It involves combining all these elements rather than trying to trick the lie detector test with how you breath, how you blink, the words you say, how often you say certain words, your movements, and more. 

Just be honest, if you want your SEO to be timeless.

Now, here’s how you can understand the impact of AI: 

We see new technology every ten years or so. For example, there has been the word processor, WordPress, PHP, or something like a calculator that allows you to do more things. These tools don’t eliminate jobs – at least, not at first. 

Because when you have a calculator, it means that people who understand math or accounting can do their jobs better. With the right tools, someone who’s already competent can work ten times better and faster.

But if you don’t know accounting, having all the tools and calculators won’t help you at all. 

Similarly, if you are an agency using AI tools to generate content without the necessary expertise in SEO, digital marketing, or video editing, you’re in trouble. I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough. Agencies that are just in it for the money will eventually find themselves out of business.

You need hands-on experience doing a certain thing, before AI can make your work more valuable. 

So, what does this mean for all of us? 

It comes down to the same timeless principles.

Look at the Vatican Museum here. 

The Vatican Museum

This place has items on display that date back over 2,000 years. 

We were at the Colosseum yesterday, which was built around 80 AD, roughly 50 years after Jesus. That place has practically been here forever. 

So, what is timeless about SEO and digital marketing?

If you do good work – fixing toilets, roofs, lawns, buying and selling houses, taking care of pets, and other local services – you need someone to collect those signals.

This is essential for gathering more reviews and increasing conversions from systems like CallRail, Service Titan, Angie’s List, Housecall Pro and Salesforce.com.

All these systems pull in CRM data that needs to be pushed back to platforms like Facebook, Google, and TikTok. There is a technical component and a process component in your operations to collect all this content. This includes training your technicians to take photos of their jobs and more.

Ironically, in the world of AI, there’s an even greater need for agencies. 

However, these agencies shouldn’t just act like sales bros, focusing 90% of their efforts trying to close more deals without delivering. 

Instead, they should shift 90% of their focus to delivery – actually getting the work done through a sophisticated process involving VAs who use technology.

So, what I’ve been working on as a search engine engineer over the last couple dozen years is: How do we automate this at scale?

We have lots of agency owners working under industry figureheads like Roger Wakefield for plumbing, Glenn Vo for dentists, or Jeremy Newman for restoration companies. 

Industry figurehead, below which there are multiple agency owners, and then below them is an army of VAs

Because all the restoration companies will trust a “Jeremy.” All of the pool builders will trust Nilson Silva because he’s one of them – at the top of their industry. 

Below the industry figure head is an agency owner or multiple agency owners. Below them is an army of VAs who use our tools and follow our processes, which we openly share and to which anyone can contribute. It’s not a secret sauce.

I am working on building the necessary tools to empower local business owners, allowing them to see their stats. 

For instance, if you’re a landscaper like Anthony Hilb, running a $10 million landscaping company, you should be able to see all your stats instead of just trusting a marketing company’s word. You should have access to your data just like a doctor has access to an MRI or a person uses a scale.

I want everyone to see the real impact of the work done by VAs, content editors, someone who is posting videos, someone running ads, and those optimizing GMB or LSA. Anyone should be able to see the true financial impact of this work. 

Otherwise, it’s just posting 10 videos per week to TikTok and Instagram without knowing the ROI. 

I want to see that the work is actually driving the business. 

And that’s a full circle – it’s almost like, we have to build our own lie detector test from a technology standpoint to counterbalance Google.

Google looks at all these signals to determine what’s real. Our system, on the technology side, is building variations to ensure we’re delivering the right signals back to Google.

The signals that Google sees vs. our system that makes sure we are delivering all the right signals

This requires some data swizzling of the API stuff, which involves technology on my side and my team of engineers. 

This requires you as a local service business to make sure you’re collecting these signals. 

If you’re doing great work, our team or our partnered agencies should be able to pick up those signals, push them through Google, run ads on Google and Facebook, and deliver measurable results for everyone to see.

We aim to move away from the world where it’s a big dark room with people making things up. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, and we want to change that.

So, if you’re wondering why Dennis is doing all these different things, it’s because we’re trying to build a standard: Are you Googleable? This will help everyone see what’s working and what’s not, no matter who they’re working with. 

If you have someone certified who’s doing good work, you can keep them accountable. Whether you bring a team in-house or work with an external team, you can keep them accountable, because all the data is tracked and pushed together to feed the Google knowledge graph.

Now, I’ve talked a lot about SEO, knowledge panels, knowledge graphs, graph API, search and social, producing content, and pushing it out there. This whole process is governed by what we call the four-stage content factory.

As a business owner, you don’t need to understand the details of what happens inside it, but you do need to understand the big picture: if you actually do the thing you say you do, like “water damage restoration in San Antonio,” the right signals will show up.

You will win if you have the right marketing partners working with you.  

If that interests you, reach out to me.

Reach out to whoever we have in that particular vertical. For example, if it’s concrete coatings, we have Danny Barrera and Marko S. Sipilä. If it’s roofing, we have Keigan Carthy. 

There is a clear process you can follow, audit, and inspect. You don’t have to hire anyone to do this or to be able to get an inspection first. You are inspected by the work you do. We should all be held to the same standard.

I hope you see that this is completely revolutionizing the world of agencies. 

The traditional agency model is dead. It’s based on a salesperson taking your order and passing it off. Most of the work done by these agencies is handled by white label providers because the salesperson has no idea—they just collect the money, say whatever is necessary and pass it off. That model is dead. 

The waiter and cook model is dead. 

Now, you need practitioners who understand the data, driven by a clear process of auditability. Now, everyone’s a mechanic. Instead of the waiter, cook, front office, back office model, it’s moving towards people who actually know what they’re doing and can work hands-on on campaigns.

This means the sales rep is no longer necessary at the car dealership. 

The model where it was just “cooks in the kitchen at the back,” or VAs working remotely from places like the Philippines, without directly understanding the client or their strategy, is not going to work. 

The new model involves agency partners working within these agencies, under the agency figurehead, with links being distributed the right way, which we’ll discuss in another article. I encourage you to jump on this before it changes.

If you have any questions, reach out to me. Let me know what you think.


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Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations. You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel. You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.
I'm a member of Blitzmetrics Academy and a friend of Dennis to boot. Not only is Dennis highly intelligent and full of great and creative ideas, he's also incredibly generous with both his knowledge and his time. Success couldn't come to a better guy. Thank you for all that you do for the world, Dennis! 🙏

Michael Pacheco

Marketer

Thanks 🙏 for being shining light in this industry. Love what your building for works overseas too network for jobs so innovative. Dennis helped me navigate having bad experiences with marketing agencies and doing dollar a day marketing which has helped my personal brand tremendously. Highly recommend.

Eric Skeldon

Founder at Kingdom Broker

Working with Dennis has been a delightful experience. After meeting him in 2015 I got to collaborate with him on countless occasions. His understanding for state-of-the-art marketing, his implementation, and his leadership put him into the top 0.01% of marketers and mentors.

Jan Koch

Ihr kompetenter Partner für innovative KI-Strategien.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis for my podcast in 2021 and since then we have maintained a friendship that grows with each interaction. I have seen Dennis' devotion to his friends and clients firsthand, and our conversations often result in us talking about how we can provide more value to the people around us. He is someone whom I can ask questions on a technical level, and look to on a personal level. If you have any hesitancy about hiring him, get over yourself and do it!

Isaac Mashman

Help scaling personal brands.

Geez, where do I start recommending Dennis? First, he is an absolutely brilliant marketer who understands where marketing is today and where it's going tomorrow. He also has an incredible passion for the International Worker community. The lessons he has taught me from his almost 20 years of experience hiring International Workers have been immense. Most importantly though. Dennis Yu is someone who wants the absolute best for you and is willing to tell you the truth. Dennis sat with me at a point in my business where I was floundering but did not want to admit it. He asked some very straight forward questions to get me to admit my issues, highlighted the issues, and then helped me create a roadmap to success.

Atiba de Souza

International Keynote Speaker | Video Content Superman | Superconnector |

Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will notr regret Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will not regret

Nixon Lee

The PR Whisperer

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