Getting Started with SEO: An Interview with Brian Dordevic from Alpha Efficiency

We sat down with Brian Dordevic from Alpha Efficiency to talk about SEO.  Read the transcript below or sit back, relax and watch the video!


Transcript of our SEO Interview:

JENNIFER: Hi, I am Jennifer DeRosa of Toto Coaching and Toto SEO, and today we have a special treat.

We have Brian D here from Alpha Efficiency, a web design firm who also, not only does web design and development, also implements SEO and he is very knowledgeable. He’s been in this business for a long time and he has a lot of knowledge that I hope can help you throughout the next couple minutes.

So I just want to say thank you so much for, for being here today, Brian, it’s really a pleasure to be speaking with you, and thank you so much for lending us all of this great knowledge.

Tell me a little bit about your business and, and what do you do? What do you guys specialize in? What’s your superpowers?


BRIAN:  So Alpha Efficiency is a service-based agency and we specialize in building websites, doing custom web applications, and SEO and some marketing. We are very specific as a provider because we are focused on building websites that are technically sound for search engine optimization. So it’s a, it’s a niche within a niche.

Our clients would typically be companies that are spending $10,000 , and more per month on SEO and their SEO team doesn’t know how to build a website that would make Google happy. So tackling things like core web vitals and site speed and user experience to make Google happy. That’s a niche that we have and a unique problem that we are solving on the market. That doesn’t make us the right fit for majority of people, but for the those that we are the right fit, that’s what we do.

I’m currently writing a book, I think we’re gonna call it like a million dollar website.

It’s something that I actively talk about because I’m passionate about a topic and I’m constantly learning and evolving my own practice.


JENNIFER: So you mentioned technical SEO. Mm-hmm. What’s the difference between technical SEO and non-technical SEO?


BRIAN:  Technical SEO would be something that web developers do when it comes down to optimizing the server side operations of a website, meaning how Google communicates with your site, how do they find it, how do they evaluate it based on your technical side of things?

And I think in the grand scheme of things, the bigger the website gets, the more reliant it gets on technical SEO. So for a lot of people that are starting out technical SEO is not something that they should be concerned with. You have to gain a certain size and you have to get to a certain point that it actually becomes a problem for your business. There’s really no sense putting in effort and energy and money into technical SEO until you have certain domain authority, until you already have existing traffic that Google can actually calculate how much you need to improve your site to get to where you need to be.


JENNIFER: So for, a smaller website, one that is relying on organic SEO, if someone’s just starting out and they’re first putting their website together and maybe they’re doing it on their own or they’re having someone do it, but , they’ve been focusing on their messaging or building the website, getting all their assets together and their content.

You know, that’s a lot of work building the website. So sometimes the SEO is an afterthought. What would you say to somebody who’s just starting out? Where should they put their effort initially? Should they do any optimization on their website? Should they do a little bit? Should they do a lot?

Where should they start and how should they know that they need to be optimizing their website?


BRIAN: The SEO needs to start before the website starts so that you can pre-plan the architecture of the site knowing, uh, what’s gonna be on the homepage, what are the main service pages or main pillar pages of the site that you’re trying to go after.

It really depends on the competitiveness level of your industry. Then when you know what the competition level is, what you can fairly and safely expect to get out of the investments you’re putting out, only then you could start figuring out what kind of content do you need to create.

Because there’s no no point, like let’s say personal injury in Chicago. I don’t even have to look at this keyword term to know there’s gonna be like keyword difficulty, 80 out of a 100, right? It’s gonna be super competitive. So you need to approach your industry and see what kind of low keyword competition opportunities are there for you to know where you can enter because if SEO is too competitive and you don’t have a budget for it, just like don’t waste your money. That’s my my first and foremost advice. Like not every industry is geared to provide you an affordable entry in the world of SEO. Google exists for like almost 30 years now, right? So there’s people that are in this game longer than some people have been alive, right?

You are getting into this game, you have to understand like, hey, you’re like 30 years behind.

So there is a, there is a possibility, there’s like pockets where you can still get your foot through the door , but there’s also a chance that like in some industries, like if you’re a personal injury attorney, well, you better find some very super creative keywords that are not as competitive, that are using the terms that other SEOs don’t know about, because that’s, that’s your ticket in, like, finding these creative ways to get into something that’s not as competitive.

And, it requires a lot of keyword research. So keyword research site structure before the website starts. That’s the entry so that you’re building a house and a solid foundation. And then that goes before you even make a first design. You pre-plan out your content and you will know how much content do you actually need.

Like for us, took us like two solid years because web design space is so competitive. We’re competing against companies that are spending a $100,000, $200,000 per month on their SEO.

It really depends on the, on the space you are in. That’s the, that’s the bottom line.


JENNIFER: If you have limited funds, what would be something that you could do that would have the biggest impact for the least amount of money?


BRIAN: So first you’ll have to understand that there’s, uh, informational searches that are top of the funnel, and then you have commercial searches that are bottom of the funnel. Commercial searches across the board are like very competitive that people know, and other SEOs know that that’s where the money is.

So everyone’s competing for those keywords, so you are coming late to the game. So the way you could compete is by attacking these new searches on top of the funnel searches that are not as competitive, and that allows you an in to find the consumer before they’re problem aware or a solution aware.

If I didn’t have any budget, and I was focused on driving some, some, some traffic, I would focus on finding these low competition keywords.

But I wouldn’t have too many expectations out of them. So the, the person that’s creating the content should really be a good copywriter so that they could introduce some, Creative ways of writing that would drive these visitors over to the newsletter where you can further nurture the leads to clients.

But it’s a long-winded game, not just on the SEO side to get the results, but also it’s a long-winded game in a sense that you need to put up a lot of effort to further crystallize these visits into, into customers and it’s not as obvious, but a lot of the marketing is not obvious anymore.

That’s, that’s why so many people fail at marketing because it became a very cognitively demanding exercise in driving results. It requires you to think in multiple facets. Like it’s not just SEO, it’s not just social media there’s also paid ads component, there’s email. It’s like a total marketing kung fu.

It’s complicated. What we could do 15 years ago when I started out. Just like having an offer page and driving Google traffic to it, market level sophistication went up. People are looking for trust signals, Google rankings being one of them.

But the other part is like, how many followers does this company have on social media? How many reviews do they have? All of these trust signals that people are using. They go and take a look and it’s like, this doesn’t look right and they don’t buy. You start to get much deeper into the marketing, you start to realize that SEO is just one small tool in a much bigger puzzle of the things you need to accomplish in order to close that deal, the multiple touch points that you need to achieve. That’s why I think website, having a website’s like super important, even if you’re not doing SEO, because it checks off one of those boxes that you have control over. Like, oh, I look reputable. And it’s pretty important.


JENNIFER: You’ve been talking about top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel. Can you describe what those mean for anyone who doesn’t understand what that means?


BRIAN:  So top of the funnel would be your prospective future customer that’s looking to solve a problem that your product solves but they’re not aware of that problem fully yet. So they could be potentially problem unaware, right? But they’re typing out the keywords that are leading them to, to realizing the awareness of the, of the problem, right?

So there’s like a really good, interesting psychological overlap between what people are typing into the Google query box and what they’re getting. Google’s like our priest confession room of 21st Century where people are confessing everything to Google, what’s coming to their mind.

So, you need to optimize because those searches are much, much less competitive, because they’re not even talking about the product itself but even with the small website, you can still compete on some of these top of the funnel keywords, and then drive those top of the funnel searches to your bottom of the funnel.


JENNIFER: That’s so awesome. What do you think is the biggest mistake that most people make when they are hiring an SEO company? What things people should look out for?


BRIAN:  I think there’s a lot of issues that people are making when when they’re hiring a company.

I think that the easiest one is that they haven’t been burnt before. So if you haven’t purchased SEO services before, you could easily be swayed by an SEO that’s promising the heavens and the skies and delivers nothing. And the, the way that industry is set is that a lot of smaller agencies, they don’t have built up reputation.

They can operate on a churn and burn. They can legit live off of failed projects, as long as they keep hunting.

I think that finding a good agency that could guarantee you the content and links so that you know at least you’re getting something in return that even as someone who doesn’t know what they’re buying, and at least they can quantify, I got so many links of this quality, or I got so many articles of this quality and this word count and you can test if the articles that they delivered to you were of actual quality, you can do the Grammarly plagiarism checker, there’s Copyscape. There’s a lot of different tools where you can see the quality of the content at play. So I would, I would definitely say figure out on the deliverables so that you can’t get burned, or that at least you know that you’re buying garbage as soon as you get it so that you don’t have to worry about it too much.

If you’re just starting out, you, there’s only two words that I want you to focus on. Links and content. Are you acquiring backlinks and are you getting content? Everything outside of that would be the noise. Like, let’s get to the basics. And the basics are those two simple things: links and content and then you’re good to go. I don’t think that, that at that point you need to overcomplicate the SEO. As you’re getting these, you will develop more and more knowledge and you will start to understand what is a good content piece and what is a good backlink, and then you can optimize from there.

That’s why it’s called optimization because it’s a process. It’s not once one and done for sure. It’s a continuous investment. It’s like a hobby, an expensive hobby, until it starts making money.


JENNIFER: And hopefully it does, hopefully it brings in the business and whatever you’ve invested in, if you’ve hired someone to help you with it, or you’re doing it on your own, hopefully it begins to work and you’re in a landscape that’s not so competitive and that you can see some results from your efforts.

And it’s not just this black hole where you keep throwing money in over and over again.

So it’s been awesome talking with you, Brian, so thank you so much for educating all of us. It’s so important to keep learning, and especially when it comes to your business. If you’re running your own business or you’re part of a small business, you’re kind of on a mission and we don’t want you to get wrapped up in things that can hurt you or hurt your business and you want to take whatever energy and funds, time, money, and put it into something that will bring you some return on the investment, so that you can keep moving forward so you can grow your business and scale it.

And SEO is one of those things that can help you, if you’re doing it right. So thank you so much for, for being with us today. It’s been awesome having you. There is information right below this how to contact Brian if you’re interested. He’s based in the United States, but he works with people all over so you don’t have to be close to him. I know he is got a large following. I follow him on LinkedIn. He is got lots of interesting posts, so definitely follow him on LinkedIn as well if you’re not , you’ll learn a lot even by just following his, his posts.


BRIAN: Yeah, we do publish regularly on LinkedIn and Twitter, but thank you so much for having, having me, Jennifer. Yes.


JENNIFER: Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you so much, Brian.

Jennifer DeRosa

Jennifer DeRosa is the visionary behind Toto SEO and Toto Coaching. As the founder of Toto SEO, she specializes in offering SEO solutions tailored for small businesses. Through Toto Coaching, she provides an interactive online course, complete with weekly coaching sessions, empowering small businesses and entrepreneurs to craft websites that not only presell their offerings but also foster trust among their clientele. Jennifer's thirst for knowledge recently led her to complete a course on No Code Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the prestigious MIT University. She's also on her way to becoming the author of "Building DIY Websites for Dummies," a new addition to the renowned "for dummies" series. Before her current ventures, Jennifer was the driving force behind TechCare, a web development agency she founded and led from 2001 to 2021. Her career also includes consulting roles with industry giants such as Mercedes Benz Credit Corporation, US Surgical, GTE, GE Capital, Unilever, and Calvin Klein. She is a frequent speaker for WordPress Meetups, SCORE, and others.