"Hannah, I am sick and tired at looking at SEO reports. Like, literally, it is bad for my health because I get so worked up. As you are starting They Ask, You Answer, do I still need an SEO agency?"
This is a question I recently received from one of my customers who is starting the Small Business Mastery Program with us in January 2024. He went on to explain how how feels so "indoctrinated" (his words, not mine) for the past eight years by SEO agencies that he is scared to cut ties. So, in true They Ask, You Answer manner, let's address it.
What is They Ask You Answer?
Before we get started, let's quickly recap what “They Ask, You Answer” (TAYA) is. They Ask You Answer is a business philosophy created by Marcus Sheridan that has emerged as the go-to customer-centric strategy in the recent years because it answers customers questions honestly, transparently, and in an unbiased way, enabling you to become the most trusted voice in your industry, but also making your customers more educated and ultimately happier when they eventually buy from you.
While companies can implement this methodology themselves, they often find that it is more efficient and faster to hire a coach to guide them and their team through this journey. Doing They Ask You Answer means writing and filming the best and most helpful educational content.
The goal is to create significantly more organic traffic, more qualified leads, and higher sales. This is accomplished by hiring, onboarding, and training inhouse, follow SEO and UX best practices, and create the expertise and skillsets you need which will allow you to wean your business of external marketing agencies, including SEO and PPC agencies. Let's have a closer look at each.
The SEO Agency Conundrum
For the more than a decade, small business owners have been indoctrinated by SEO agencies who promised them "first rank on Google" and threatened them with business demise if they didn't sign up. Consequently, SEO agencies have been the go-to for businesses striving to climb the search engine rankings.
However, business owners often are blinded by vanity metrics (more clicks, higher rankings, increased traffic, etc.) and overlook the lack of delivery from an SEO agency. Yet reality often paints a different picture. You often spend thousands of dollars every month and you have no justifiable return to show for.
My customer, Chris, I was telling you about earlier? He fired one of his SEO agencies about 6 months ago and the next day lost about 20% of his traffic? Coincidence? I think not.
Now, I am not here to say there aren't reputable SEO firms who do great work. However, in my experience they are far and in-between. Most will give you lengthy PowerPoint presentations with screenshots of your Google Analytics and a bunch of weak links.
So, it is no wonder that you are frustrated. I get it. It’s one of the reasons I became a They Ask, You Answer Certified Coach. I want to challenge the agency orthodoxy, and show you that there’s a better way of doing things. So let’s dig deeper as to what that looks like.
Doing SEO In-House with TAYA
The essence of TAYA lies in its principles: Be the best teacher in your industry, address the questions your customers are asking, and you will be rewarded with their trust.
So let me ask you a question: what is Google's biggest fear when you type in a query into their search box? It's simple. That they can't find high quality content to serve you up results that answer your question. That is literally the value they bring to you. With They Ask, You Answer you create that great content your buyers are searching for and Google will want to serve up.
If you embrace this, and remain consistent with your content marketing efforts using SEO best practices, search engines will follow suit. Because TAYA is not just about keywords and backlinks; it's about delivering value.
And in addition, if you implement TAYA with a Certified Coach, your in-house team will learn how to tackle all the SEO fundamentals. The result? You take the reins, drive your own strategy, and say goodbye to the frustration of unmet expectations from external agencies.
The Role of Paid Ads in TAYA
The approach to utilizing paid ads is slightly different to that of an SEO agency. On the contrary, they can in fact play a supportive role when implementing the principles of TAYA in-house.
Think about when you were learning to ride a bike. Paid ads are a bit like the training wheels; they help you gain momentum as you are starting the implement and steadily gaining traction with They Ask, You Answer. The ultimate goal being to pedal with those training wheels, or in this case, utilize the strength of organic traffic.
In other words, as you pivot from paid to organic, it's crucial to maintain balance, ensuring you don't lose lead generation steam in the process. Because of that, we recommend that if you are using paid ads, you continue to use them until your organic traffic and leads substitute or balance out, bringing you to the point where you can begin weaning yourself off paid ads altogether.
Be careful not to just immediately turn off paid ads when embarking on your TAYA journey. If you do that, your ads will simply stop and as a result, the leads will stop, losing you a vital source of lead generation in the early days of your in-house mastery journey.
Are You Ready to Master Your Marketing In-House?
To conclude, TAYA is not only a great business philosophy that will transform your organization, including bringing your marketing in-house, but also a practical roadmap towards SEO autonomy and a measured approach to paid advertisements.
As you contemplate the integration of TAYA into your marketing strategy, remember that the route to growing your online visibility doesn't necessarily require an SEO agency's roadmap or a paid ads budget.
You hold the keys to guiding your company through the digital landscape with the knowledge that your customers are seeking. Embrace TAYA, take control of your in-house SEO, and navigate towards a future where your customer's queries and your content intersect to drive future growth.