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Business Growth Strategy by Getting into More Google Searches

Updated: Dec 16, 2022



Note: transcription provided by Otter.AI, which is a technology company that develops speech-to text transcription and translation applications using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: So welcome, everybody to this week's podcast episode for the Financial Freedom for Physicians podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Christopher Loo. And as you know, we talk about four pillars of freedom: time, financial, location, and emotional freedom. And the brand started out with physician guests and audience, and now it's gone mainstream. So now we have guests that are non-physicians, high income earners, business owners. And so today, I'm happy to introduce you to Liz Cortes. She's a local SEO and small business coach, and we're going to be talking all about SEO, storybrand, working with your spouse, incorporating faith in your business and getting focused. So, Liz, welcome.

Liz Cortes: Thank you so much, Dr. Christopher.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: What was interesting was, we connected through PodMatch. And like I said, we were talking and really, the goal is to get the information and education and ideas out there to stimulate discussion, inspire and motivate people. And so you have a very interesting bio, you’re into SEO. And before we get into that, tell everybody who you are and where you came from, and we'll go from there.

Liz Cortes: Yeah, so I am the oldest of four, and I was a homeschooler. And there was only one doctor that came out of us four girls. My parents probably wish they had all doctors and lawyers, all the traditional things. So when their oldest wanted to start a business, after getting two degrees in college, they were like, wait, no, you went to school, you should get a job, you should do all those things. And I was like, No, I want to have a business. So I know people listening now, you may have that too. And you spent all this time going to school, and you're probably thinking, Oh, I'm gonna do something a little different. So that's what I did. So now with what I do day to day with my husband is not what I got my two degrees from. It's different. But I don't regret that experience. The student loans got paid off through our company now, and I'm thankful for it.

We've been working together for seven years before that. Like I said, I started business after I graduated, and I became a fitness influencer. So that was back in the day, in 2009. So a long time ago, at the beginning, when YouTube was the wild, wild west. But my husband, he was in the restaurant industry, and just was ready to get out. And so that's when we decided to open up a marketing agency. And we probably, I think, chose the hardest field, which is SEO, it's the most, I'd say confusing. Everyone's like, why Google, and Google isn't like me, doesn't show my side. It's frustrating; ads and all the things. But the way his brain works is just perfect for SEO. And so, I'm thankful. Seven years we've been working together and we've helped inspire other couples to work together too. So maybe someone listening here is thinking about that. That's our little gist of the story.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: It's quite interesting. I like how you refer to YouTube as the wild wild west, because now it's you know, it's TikTok that's the new thing.

Liz Cortes: Oh, that's scary to me. All but I hear you don't have to dance. So doctors, you don't have to dance on TikTok. Like, you can actually give great advice in business or financial stuff.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: I know for some people, SEO is new and people may not know what it is. Or maybe they need a refresher. So tell people what that is. And how can it be used to better market your services, increase your brand, etc?

Liz Cortes: Yes, so SEO stands for Search Engine engine optimization. And what that really means is getting found on Page One of Google Now, you might be thinking, there's lots of search engines. There's Bing and DuckDuckGo. There's tons out there. But if you are an iPhone user, your iPhone, you are connecting to Apple Maps to get directions. You're also connecting to Yelp, automatically. And if you're an Android phone user, your phone connects to Google, which I think the stats are like 60% are Android Phone users. So it's connected to Google automatically.

So when it comes to having a local business - and even if you're an online coach like you are online, you can still have a local presence and have a Google business profile, you can still have a Yelp page, and you can hide your address, and you can be a service provider business. So that's the first place where I think it's just so important, whether you're local, or you're a coach, you do want to have a local presence in your city. And Google rewards you when you have a physical location.

So if you rent out an office, and you have a podcast studio, you could even use that as your business address, even if you only record podcasts there. But if you have a physical location, Google rewards you and they'll show you on more Google Maps searches. When someone searches, let's say a business coach in whatever city you live in, they'll show you there. Or, they're looking for a dentist like whatever they're looking for, you have an opportunity to show up on Google Maps. But you also have an opportunity to show up below that, where that's called organic search.

So those 10 spots underneath the map section, where your website can show up to solve that person's need when they Googled whatever question or whatever statement, they were looking up and doing the research to most likely hire someone, people go into Google to hire people and do research. They're not going on Facebook to solve their biggest problems. You don't go to Facebook to find a plumber because your kitchen sink has exploded and it's a disaster. You go to Google. And so that's what's so powerful. And why we love SEO, specifically local SEO, because local businesses just need more support. The past two years, keep hanging in there. And stay around. And the ones that are fighting and doing these online strategies are sticking around. And it's working.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. It's quite interesting.It's always been a black box to me, especially search, because most of the time I niche down and kind of just focus on a particular topic. And a lot of my friends, they're into SEO. So if just getting started, how would someone begin with just online marketing in general? You mentioned SEO, what other avenues are there?

Liz Cortes: Yeah, I think if you're just getting started having a Google business profile is where you can get started first, you don't even have to have a website. So I mean, just like someone that starts a new Instagram page, and they want to build a brand, they may start over there. But it's hard to get people to find even your Instagram, unless you are using hashtags. And you are really getting out there doing a lot of work. But right away, when they approve your Google business profile, you can start showing up on searches. If you choose the right categories, and you fill it out correctly.

But if you already have a website, and you're trying to figure out what to do next. Because for most businesses, you need to get traffic to your website. And that's what causes someone to schedule an appointment, come in or call you if that is your number one call to action. But What's hard is, how do you get people to come to that website? So you either do paid ads, you either write blogs, you either record a podcast, like what you're doing. Like you have books for sale on your site, and you have your links that are right here, to go to your social media sites or the pages that you want them to go to. So you're guiding me where to go.

And so someone who's listening to the podcast or coming to your website, they probably heard about you. They're Googling your name, they're finding you. But there's other people that need your services. And so then you want to show up for those searches as well, so that you can help them, through selling your product or service.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Is it better to do Google Ads or local SEO?

Liz Cortes: It depends on how quick you need some cash flow. If you need cash flow right now, you might need to do Google ads, because with a Google ad, you don't have to wait around. So if you're doing SEO, and you're writing a blog, it could take up to nine months for Google to put that blog page on Google. So that's a long time to wait if you need cash flow now. Now, you could show up for that same keyword that you wrote your blog posts for today, because you told Google I want to show up for this keyword and I want to pay for it.

So we met with a law firm last week. And we found that on that free just strategy, call it the first 15 minute call, my husband found a cool keyword. Law firms are super expensive for keywords. Also doctors, it's expensive. So do you want to pay $25 or $30 every time someone clicks on your ad? Like it's click 25, click 25, click 25. And then there's 100 bucks gone in the first 30 seconds that you had your ad. And so, my husband found this really cool keyword just by sitting, having a chat, and learning about some specific services that they offer. He asked some questions. He found a key word that would probably make this firm $100,000, one keyword, it's $3 per click. I was like, what? So that's what is so cool. That just makes you get so excited.

We found another keyword for a financial planner here in San Diego. San Diego is so competitive for realtors financial planners, it's really hard to do even SEO or Google ads, both of them are just super hard. And for a lot of big cities, that is not the solution for you. It's just too expensive, too competitive. And there's too many big players to really do either of them. But for them, we found them a keyword. And boom, he has done so well this year with that keyword. And then we were like, bummer. We told him that on the free call that we did. And he applied what we said and did not hire us but has made lots of money and fills us in monthly, like just how thankful he is that we gave him that keyword. And his team was able to write the blogs, and I was so happy and proud of him for applying that.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Nice. Yeah. So we've gone through business profiles, local SEO, Google Ads. If someone wants to set up a Google business profile, what are some mistakes that you've seen with people who are first timers?

Liz Cortes: Picking the wrong category is a big one. We were hired by a company up in Orange County. It's a biohacking gym with some really cool equipment. So it's a gym. So is it a fitness center? Is that the category? Is it a personal trainer? There's so many different keywords for your industry that are in there. And it's really important that you pick the number one top keyword. I've seen chiropractors that were actually set up as contractors on accident. So go double check your profile. This also goes for on Yelp, it will also have categories too. So just make sure that your category is the correct one.

So for years, Google did not have a laundromat. Our very first client we got was a laundromat. And there was laundry service, there were different things; dry cleaner, I think was originally what it was back seven years ago, but they're not a dry cleaner. So they were the wrong category, until Google changed. So Google's always changing categories. Sometimes they remove categories. So, sometimes your category will change because they removed one, sometimes they add them. So I think that the biggest thing is to make sure you have the right category.

And if you're not sure, like that client I told you about in Orange County, that it was like, should we call you a personal trainer? There were 200 other personal trainers in that area. I counted how many fitness centers were there, I counted how many wellness centers. We counted how many were in that area, and then we helped kind of figure out. And after lots of research, we decided they should be called a personal trainer. because you can't work out on their equipment unless you're with a personal trainer. So it is one on one. And we decided to go with that, even though there's a lot of personal trainers in that area. Within a couple months we were able to help them show up on Google Maps for their business, and now they've expanded. Now they're combined with this other franchise and they're gonna be able to grow so much quicker, which is really cool.

Another mistake I see is not asking for reviews consistently. So a big part of every business, doesn't matter if it's online or locally, you need to be getting reviews consistently. And even if you only work with 10 clients or patients a month, I mean, that'd be crazy. Hopefully you're working with 40 new ones a week, right? Like, hopefully, there's plenty. But, we've worked with practices that are getting 40 new patients a week, but not asking for reviews. So the reviews do not line up with their local reputation that is really great. And when getting lots of referrals and doing amazing, you need to be getting reviews and having a system set up to be asking for those reviews. and posting them up easily on different platforms. Because that shows Google, Hey, pay attention to them.

And if you don't do it consistently, and you just send out one blast email, and you get too many on the same day, that's not good. That could show Google that it looks kind of fake and fishy. Google didn't use to take away reviews. But I've been hearing lately that reviews have been disappearing, kind of like how it goes for Yelp. So you know how Yelp has those hidden reviews, it's so annoying because you work so hard to get them. But you still want to be asking for those reviews. Even if you're scared about getting bad reviews. Everyone gets bad reviews, you can't make everyone happy. So if you get some bad reviews, you just have to reply to them well. Because if you are not able to make that person happy, well, the people that are reading reviews online, they're going to read what you wrote publicly to reply, of course. Most people listening are doctors. So you're not going to do anything against HIPAA. If they left you a written review, you can publicly respond to it. And you know what you can and can't say, but most of the time, if you have some bad reviews, that's okay, that's normal. It's weird if you only have five star reviews, no one's perfect.

So those would be the top two mistakes that I see. So to review, the first mistake is definitely choosing the wrong category. And so you want to be strategic when you choose that category. Ensure that you actually offer that service, and it's the best one for you. And the second is not getting reviews consistently. Those would be the top two mistakes I see.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Those are some really important pearls of wisdom. The other thing is, with your experience, which online marketing strategies are working really well right now after the pandemic and this recession that we're in, what are you seeing?

Liz Cortes: Well, I have been seeing people open up more businesses. So I'm happy to see that expanding, I’m really, really happy to see that. I'm also seeing a lot of people pulling back, because it is a scary time, I mean, prices are going up all over the place every day. We have not changed our prices. And we don't plan on doing that. I just want to see more people not change it and blame it on the economy, just doing better service and working with more clients and patients, like not everyone has to increase their prices all over the place. So I’d like to challenge that, first of all. Second of all, I think now is the time to get more aggressive with your marketing, and is not the time to get scared.

And Dr. Christopher, you're into finances and financial freedom, and I'm sure you took so many risks over your career. So I think now is not the time to play it safe. I mean, of course, you should have your emergency fund, if you own your own business, have that stuff too. But this is not the time to just hoard all your cash flow and let it sit there. Just like right now, the stock market is on sale. Don't stop investing, don't fire your marketing company because you're scared. Only fire them if they're not getting your results. They should be getting you results. That's why you hired them, they should be making you more money.

And so that's what I think people need to do right now, is get more aggressive with their marketing, because so many businesses are pulling back because they're scared. And so this is the time; think about all the years who makes money and these times a recession? Dr. Christopher knows who makes money. People that aren't scared and holding back, they see the opportunities come up. And that may annoy you and frustrate you like, Oh, just the rich people get more rich when this stuff happens. No, there's lots of people that were smart and we have lots of clients that did really, really well the past two years because they pushed in, they persevered, they made some changes that were scary and hard, but they partnered with great teams to help them make it happen. So that's what I really recommend doing right now. But I know it's scary. It's a hard time right now, to know what to do.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: So that's actually the number one piece of advice, Liz, that you give. In times of hardship, that's the best time to grow and expand, because everybody's running for cover. And that's when all the best opportunities: 2008, 2001, 2020, now is the best time. The stock market is on sale, so that's the best time.

So in terms of content marketing, what do you think about that, in terms of topics? How do you come up with particular topics?

Liz Cortes: Yes. So first, I think it's important to choose how you're going to create the content? Are you going to make a blog or a podcast? Are you going to do a YouTube video? And whatever comes naturally to you, I'd say choose that one piece of content. Okay, so pick that first. And then, you can research. So if you're doing, let's say, a blog, or even a podcast, both of those ways, it will probably show up on Google. Searching for podcasts is a little tricky. So first pick where you are going to create that content.

So I am partial to the blogs because Google, blogging still works. But I really love podcasts, because you can take your podcast and turn it into a blog. And people enjoy listening to podcasts. I mean, you have your headphones in, you're probably multitasking right now. It's kind of like we're having a one on one conversation, it's different than watching a YouTube video, you don’t have to edit it. You can just do it. And if you are recording like an hour long, or even 30 minute podcast, that could give you the 1500 words that a blog posts that Google wants to see in a blog post. If you just record 10 minute episodes, it's really hard to create a long blog that Google wants to see, because Google wants to run 1500 words in a really good blog post. So that's how you're going to show up. So if you don't like writing, I'd say start with a podcast. If you do like writing, then start there.

But whatever content you're gonna create, I think you always need to do some research on, what that title is going to be? What is the key word that you want to focus on? And do that research first, what is that outline going to be? When you do that first, we use lots of paid tools, but there's free ones online, even like Google Keyword Planner, which still works, that's a free one. That can kind of help you figure out what people are searching for, if you start to type in, how to pick a solar company, something like that. If you say how to solar, you could see a list of what Google suggests, or YouTube suggests other people are searching, and maybe that's something to talk about.

So we get really, really deep into researching and what articles to create for clients. Because if you spend all this time recording a video or making a podcast, but you did not work on the title, you just spent a lot of time when most people aren't going to even see it. Which is such a bummer, because you worked so hard, like so you want your content to be seen. So you have to play the Google game.

And also, do you want to create content that you're competing so hard that won't even show up on Google page one, as someone already wrote, like 253,000 words and they wrote amazing blog posts about the topic that you really want to talk about. You probably should move on to something that's more niche, something more specific, that answers a very specific question. Instead of writing that general piece of content that a huge company like HubSpot and Forbes and whatever companies already wrote about it, and you're probably You're never going to rank for that topic. So you don’t have to waste your time.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, it's all about strategy. We're coming to the end, but I really enjoyed this conversation. If people are interested in learning about SEO copywriting or SEO in general, what books have helped you with this area?

Liz Cortes: So there's a new book that I'm in the middle of reading right now. But it's very similar to what we've done through our agency, the book is called, They Ask, You Answer. So about halfway through the book. And it's all about your content strategy. So they talk about answering questions that no one else is answering. They have this concept that most businesses have their head in the sand, like an ostrich has their head in the sand. And they don't want to answer questions about pricing. Let's say that. So they choose not to talk about that on their blog or on their website. It's, you have to get on a call, I'm high ticket. Like, you have to talk to me, I'm not going to tell you pricing.

So they talk about writing blogs, putting up content, answering all the questions you get on sales calls. So it's recording your sales calls, writing down every single question you get on a sales call, consultation call, discovery call, whatever you like to call it. Write down all those questions you get. And most likely, you probably should write a blog about that. So I really liked this book, I'm new to reading it. And when you go to their free offer, they start emailing and calling you. They're aggressive, but I said Be aggressive now. They're being aggressive right now. They're like, hey, let's grow. And so I really liked that book lately. But I love reading. So I'm always reading a bunch of books at the same time.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: And for all the listeners on the show, Liz’s links will be in the show notes. And Liz, this really is really interesting conversation. A lot of listeners may want to visit your website and contact you to work with you. And so how can I do that?

Liz Cortes: Yes. So I have a mini course that a lot of people like. I guess people like it if they like to learn and want to do it themselves. So if that's you, you can go to So that mini course will go way more into depth on what I talked about today, some of those mistakes and what you should be doing. It will give you a PDF checklist, and you'll get help through all those components. Or you can have your marketing manager just watch it and apply it to your business.

So I think that's the best place to go. If that isn't your style, then we have a scheduled call link on our website. So you can book a time and I can look at your specific situation and give you some advice on what I think you should do next.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Excellent. Excellent. Liz, really happy to have you on the show. And for all the listeners, all your resources will be in the show notes. Thanks so much and we look forward to hearing about your future success.

Liz Cortes: Thank you.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Many thanks again for being here. If you’re new, you can find me online at Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD, where I have links to other episodes or links to online resources that will support you on your financial literacy journey. I’ll see you there in on next week’s show. While I bring you thoroughly vetted information on this show regarding a variety of financial topics, I cannot promise you a one size fits all solution. This is why I caution you to continue to learn. Educate yourself and seek professional advice unique to your situation. If you want to talk to me, I welcome it. Please reach out via my website or email at I read and personally respond to all of my emails. Talk soon!


Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.


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