Mastering Local SEO with Kevin Graham – Part 1

Show notes from Episode 118 of the Sweaty Startup podcast. Sponsored by Jobber.

Kevin Graham sparked my interest when he appeared on one of my favorite episodes of the Tropical MBA podcast talking about making money with Amazon Affiliate links. It was recorded back in 2017.

It was a game of SEO – ranking on Google as soon as possible. He dominated it and sold several affiliate sites for $150k+ before getting in the web hosting game and now buying businesses to roll up under his hosting brand More on his recent business on this year’s episode of TMBA.

In this episode we don’t touch on Google My Business (Google Maps) SEO. I’ll have an entirely different episode for that with a local GMB specialist. This one will talk about web based SEO.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and its the art of making your online location show up in common search engines when people search for what you have to offer. Kevin gives us the three most important aspects of SEO and how to do well in all of them:

#1 Keywords

Are people searching “grass cutting” or “lawn mowing” or “turf care” in your area?

Figure out what keywords people are typing into Google when they are searching for your service in your town and then optimize your website for those keywords.

Research keyword search volume in a specific geographic area using a tool called keywords explorer on $7 gets you a 7 day trial that gives you basically all the time you need to do the research for your service business.

Ahrefs will also tell you how competitive certain keywords are in your area and how good you need to be to rank.

#2 Content

There is an entire field out there called content marketing. The art of writing and displaying epic content on your website designed to catch the eye of Google and rank you higher in search results.

The next step is an “epic” 1000-2000 word piece of content written on a specific page of your website designed around those keywords.

To use the lawn care example again this could be “The ultimate guide to lawn care in Bloomington Indiana”. An article that outlines the best lawn care methods and things to keep in mind to have a healthy and well maintained lawn. It could also be an article about your company with photos and details of jobs you have done in the past.

Design this piece of content with the people in mind who do the deep dive research on a topic before they chose a service provider. This is going to show that you are the expert and that you can be trusted if they chose your business.

The strategy here is to naturally sprinkle in the keywords on this page in a way Google recognizes it and gets that page to rank.

Photos and videos can also be input into the page with Geotags and captions and alternate text so Google Can further recognize the page and your keywords.

Remember that Youtube is the second most popular search engine in the world so getting videos out there, even if shot with your iphone from your cargo van, can really help customers learn about you and Google rank your website!

#3 Links

When Google was first started out the primary way they ranked web pages was by counting links that directed traffic to that webpage. The more links, the more people must like that piece of content and the higher it should be ranked. More on that and the current link environment here.

Links are still incredibly important and Linkbuilding is an art you need to spend some time doing. Nowadays its not just the number of links but the authority of the sites that link to your site. Google gives each website a ranking called “Domain Authority”. Famous websites and high traffic websites have high authority. Get a link from them and its very very valuable.

Links could be local newspapers, YouTube videos or even Little League teams that you sponsor. An example of this is a local cycling team like Storage Squad racing team here in Athens that my company sponsors. They’ll throw you a link for a $200 annual sponsorship. Reach out to them if you’re interested in that!

While doing research Ahrefs will actually tell you how many links they think you need to rank in certain positions on Google.

You can also get Facebook, Youtube, HomeAdvisor, Yelp, TripAdvisor and other local lead generation websites to link to your site.

Reach out to local newspapers and send them a press release written like an article with something interesting to say. Send them a guide for doing fall cleanup and why its important that time of year. These outlets are hurting for content. Help them by providing some and they’ll reward you with a high authority link!

You can also guest on podcasts and share your knowledge in exchange for links – just like Kevin did by joining us.

Kevin’s Final Tips:

Bounce rate (how many people leave your site immediately) is important! Google tracks how much time people spend on your website (dwell time) and how many pages they visit. The higher the better!

Don’t forget about YouTube! Make videos of you talking about your service or actually providing your service and embed them in your website and optimize those videos to rank on YouTube as well! Ahrefs has a tool for YouTube as well!

Make sure you page loads really fast. Fast pages rank better! Compress your images with ShortPixel so they aren’t too large. They also have a wordpress plugin that allows you to optimize your website. An SEO professional can help or you can read online articles like this for things you can do!

Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress helps you rank for keywords. Surfer SEO is another great tool that you can use to optimize your website.


Kevin shares that hiring out SEO help shouldn’t be complicated. Make sure you keep an eye on your own backlink checker profile and domain authority so you know how much they are delivering.

How many backlinks have they gotten you? How much content have they written for you? Is it worth the money? If not – fire them and move on! Are you getting more customers? For local SEO you should be able to hire a one time project based agency to optimize on page, get some content out there, and build a few links. Larger companies should consider an ongoing SEO monthly relationship with a firm!

Kevin also shares an offer with us to build a custom SEO optimized website for under $1000. Check out more on that here.

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.