When Clients Are Wrong – A Conversation with H Michael Steinberg

by Jonathan Goodman on March 25, 2014

Jonathan Edward Goodman

Hi. This is Jonathan Goodman. Welcome to another episode of the World of Internet Marketing. Today we are going to diverge from where we were previously in our interviews. I’m going to talk to you about a very interesting experience that I had this week. When I interviewed Danny Dover, there was a lot of response. It was a really great interview. A lot of people were really excited about it. And I got an email from what I’d like to call a potential client. I’m going to walk you through how this conversation went. I’m fortunate that I have the audio and I’ll play that for you.

I had difficulty coming up with a title for what to call this segment. I came up with “When Clients are Wrong.” I’m going to do this in two parts. First, I’m going to walk you though the slides and I’m going to talk to you about what I know about this person’s website and his Internet marketing strategy overall. Then I’m going to play the audio and I’m going to flip through the slides as well. This is on videocast, but I also need to be aware of my podcast that this gets created from. If you’re listening to me through the audio, you won’t see the videos, so instead I’ll explain them to you. Then you’ll listen to the audio. Of course, you can always watch this broadcast as it is on YouTube. Let’s switch now to the presentation.


Slide 1: Bad Calls – Phone Call with H. Michael Steinberg

H Michael Steinberg is a lawyer in Colorado.

Slide 2: First Contact

He emails me and says “I have several videos I need optimized. Do you do that?”

Slide 3: Online Profile – What We Look At First

His primary website is Hmichaelsteinberg.com. He’s a Colorado criminal lawyer. He also has www.colorado-criminal-lawyer-online.com. I of course said yes. We set up a time for me to call. During all of this, I did a little background research to see who I’m talking to and what their whole scenario on Internet marketing strategy is. What they’re trying to do and what they’ve been successful at.


Slide 4: Domain Authority

So first we look at domain authority, which I’m able to pull through Moz.com. There are probably other resources, but I prefer Moz. I think that it gives us very interesting analysis. You’ll see here that I looked at both HMichaelSteinberg.com and the Colorado-criminal-lawyer-online.com website. Both have a domain authority within the 20s. Generally, when I’m talking to a potential client, I explain to them that this really isn’t a very strong domain. Now his page authority, the home page, is running 40 out of 100. But we would like to see overall for a service industry client who has had a website up for multiple years in the 40s and they should be reaching toward the 60s. The goal obviously is to be 100 out of 100. But you’re really not going to get that unless you’re CNN or some big organization like that. So for the service industries, we look for in the 40s to the 60s. That’s where we really want you to be. Let me back up a moment and let’s look at established links for HMichaelSteinberg.com. It’s 59 root domains. For the Colorado-criminal-lawyer-online, it’s 14 root domains. He has no social metrics for the Colorado website. He has 5 shares and 34 likes in Facebook overall and no tweet metrics whatsoever.


Slide 5: Facebook Fan Page

Then we look at his Facebook Fan Page. He has one like on Colorado-criminal-lawyer-online and his 21 likes for his Fan Page for Michael Steinberg.

Slide 6: Twitter

He has a Twitter account. He’s produced 42 tweets. He has no following and no followers.

Slide 7: Organic Keywords Term

His organic keyword for www.hmichaelsteinberg.com is that he does have good positioning for criminal attorney Colorado, Colorado bail and deferred judgment Colorado. He is ranking in the top – realize that the data I’m using is aggregated, so it is not live data. It gets kind of statistically figured out over a 3-month period. But he is doing fairly well for those keywords. However, the clicks per month that he’s generating are extremely low. About 5 people are searching for criminal attorney Colorado. Well, that could actually be him searching for that keyword. Or it could just be random. It’s not a keyword value, right? You’re not generating a lot of unique visitors because of these keywords. And he has other ones that are ranking in the top 10. But again, they’re not really generating any type of traffic. You’ll hear in the audio that what I’m really trying to express to him is all of this work that he’s generating – because he explains that every night he’s running an article, he’s putting it up on the multiple websites – that he’s kind of spinning his wheels and nobody is really looking. He doesn’t have any Facebook. He doesn’t have any Twitter. There’s no momentum.


Slide 8: HMichaelSteinberg.com

He’s got this website.  HMichaelSteinberg.com.

Slide 9: Colorado-Criminal-Lawyer-Online.com

He has Colorado-Criminal-Lawyer-Online.com.

Slide 10: Denver-Colorado-Criminal-lawyer.com

He has Denver-Colorado-Criminal-lawyer.com.

Slide 11: Colorado-Probation-Violation-Lawyer.com

He has Colorado-Probation-Violation-Lawyer.com.

Slide 12: Colorado-Sex-Crimes-Lawyer.com

He has Colorado-Sex-Crimes-Lawyer.com.


Slide 13: Criminal-Lawyer-Colorado.com

He has Criminal-Lawyer-Colorado.com.

Slide 14: Colorado-Juvenile-Crimes-Lawyer.com

He has Colorado-Juvenile-Crimes-Lawyer.com.

Slide 15: Colorado-Criminal-DUI-Defense-Lawyer.com

He has Colorado-Criminal-DUI-Defense-Lawyer.com.

Slide 16: Colorado-Domestic-Violence-Lawyer.com


Slide 17: Colorado-Drug-Crimes-Lawyer.com

He has Colorado-Drug-Crimes-Lawyer.com. So you can see that anyone who works in the industry, one of the things we would point out to him is that he has keyword domains. He has what’s called in the industry exact-match domains. I tried to explain to him that this is no longer a viable option in Google search. He thought that was incorrect. Again, I’m an Internet marketer. He’s a lawyer. Maybe lawyers shouldn’t really be Internet marketers. I don’t try to be a lawyer. But clearly, when I suggested to him in the audio to take all of the data and all the content that he has on all these exact-match domain names and port them into HMichaelSteinberg.com, I don’t know if anyone would not advise him to do that at this point who exists in our industry. I said to him that I was going to provide him information to prove that I was right and he actually hung up on me. So I didn’t get a chance to prove that, but I’ll prove it now.


Slide 18: Matt Cuts Says…Look at the Date

For those of you who don’t know who Matt Cutts is, he is the head of Web Spam at Google. So he is constantly working to get spam out of the index. He tweeted on September 28, 2012 – we’re now in 2014. He said “new exact match domains algo (which means algorithm) affects .6% of English U.S. queries to a noticeable degree unrelated to Panda and Penguin.” Now Panda and Penguin were also algorithm updates. So what he’s saying is that in addition to Panda and Penguin, those algorithm updates, he’s also added an exact-match domain algorithm stop. That stops these exact matches for indexing in the search engines.  Unfortunately, that message didn’t get to H. Michael Steinberg.

Slide 19: Matt Cutts Says…Again

Matt Cutts, the head of Web Spam at Google, went onto a YouTube video and talked more about the algorithm updates to kind of block exact-match domains. He says, “So we have been thinking about adjusting that mix a bit of sort of turning the know down within the algorithm, so that given 2 different domains it wouldn’t necessarily help you as much to have a domain name with a bunch of keywords in it.”

Slide 20: The Google Patent…A Method of Detecting Commercial Queries

Then of course in 2003, Google actually filed a method of detecting commercial queries that says, “A company may attempt to “trick” the search engine into listing the company’s website more highly. For example, if the search engine gives greater weight in ranking results to words used in the domain associated with websites, a company may attempt to trick the search engine into ranking the company’s listing more highly by including desirable search terms in the domain name associated with the company’s listing.” This was back in 2003 and they finally implemented this in 2012.


Slide 21: Other Great Resources

Other great resources and other great articles about this. Search Engine Land wrote an article called “Deconstructing the Google Exact Match Domain Update.” On the Moz blog, there are two really good articles: “Are Exact-Match Domains (EMDs) in Decline?” and the “The Exact Domain Match Domain Playbook: A Guide and Best Practices for EMDs.

Slide 22: In Conclusion

All I would say in conclusion as H. Michael Steinberg said to me before he hung up the phone, “I wish you luck.” I’m not trying to do this out of animosity or out of anger. I’m trying to do this to educate. That’s the whole reason for the podcast in the first place is to educate. Sometimes I don’t get the ability to do that because someone decides to hang up.


Now we’re going to play the audio of the phone conversation with H. Michael Steinberg. Then I’m going to flip through the slides as well.

Jonathan: Mr. Steinberg, this is Jonathan Goodman from Halyard Consulting. How are you?

Michael: Hi. Good.

Jonathan: Do you have a second to talk?


Michael: I do. I wish I were in front of the computer. I’m pretty familiar with what you do. So tell me what you can do for me and what it will cost.

Jonathan: Well, there’s a variety of stuff that we could do. I kind of wanted to understand the spectrum of the website because it seems like you have a lot of different websites. Am I right?

Michael: Yes.

Jonathan: Okay. And you did that during a period of time where people were advising you to get keyword based website URL names. Right?

Michael: Yes.

Jonathan: So now we want to consolidate that strength and point everything to your HMichaelSteinberg.com. You have some value in both the content and the traffic that comes to those other sites. What we can do now is redirect those pages so that they then flow into the main website. That’s my first suggestion for where you need to go with all this.

Michael: Why do I want to do that?

Jonathan: Because at some point those domain keywords are going to be excluded from the search index. Google is actively trying to get it so that keyword domain names aren’t indexed at all. So you’re going to lose all of the value in that within the next couple of years.


Michael: I mean no disrespect toward you, but I don’t want to change something as radically as that based on the possibility that Google may in the future punish people for domain names that contain keywords. I think there are literally millions of domain names that would fall under that category. And I find it hard to believe that Google would do that. So I guess I disagree with that strategy.

Jonathan: Let me send you a couple of articles talking about that. Again, we can work within what your strategy is with our best observations. If you want to keep all those domain names and they have value to you.

Michael: Well, right now if you run searches, I’m talking today. If you run searches on domestic violence and criminal cases in Colorado – and I write articles literally every single day, I spend hours and hours creating original content for those websites that are dedicated to specific, well six of them are dedicated to specific areas. And that’s been working very well for me. In other words, I don’t want to fix something that I don’t perceive as being broken.

Jonathan: How are you gauging your return on investment there? Is it the number of…

Michael: The investment costs me zero. Obviously, there’s my time, but I also keep my sites up to date on law. So I don’t see the investment of time. But people call me about restraining orders because they saw the restraining order article. People call me on parole revocations because they saw the article on parole revocation. Not to mention the blogs. Each of the websites has a blog, so if it’s news I put that in the blog area. I work very hard on those websites and they seem to be working. And I have a yearly annual investment in obviously hosting them. I built them with a friend who lives up in Canada. But other than that, there’s no expense. I don’t use pay-per-click. My monthly advertising budget really goes to a company called Avo, which I’m sure you’re familiar with.

Jonathan: Yes.


Michael: I pay them a substantial amount of money and a couple of other companies like them. But my advertising costs are relatively minimal at this point. And the return on investment – the investment is minimal and every call I get is 100% profit. I guess you can argue that the time that I put into it is the investment, but again I don’t see that. I think I stay sharp in the areas that I practice in. After 30 years of doing this, it works out in my best interest.

Jonathan: Okay. So how can I help you?

Michael: Well, I’m asking you. I know their changing the backlinking, is a way that you mentioned in your email that might help with placement. That kind of thing I’m interested in. Obviously, I don’t need anyone to help me with content. But the strategy of getting rid of or somehow redirecting my existing websites to my original website that I built 17 years ago is not something I want to do. I disagree with that. So I guess I’m open to suggestions as to how you can prove to be of value to me.

Jonathan: Well, let’s start the conversation where we really connected, which was on video optimization. You have a couple of videos out there on YouTube. You really don’t have a social media following. You’ve got 21 likes on Facebook and you don’t have any followers on Twitter. So you’re putting in all of this effort, you might not see it as effort but it’s time and value, to write these articles in the hope that you’ll get indexed in the search engines. And some do and some don’t. I’m looking from the numbers and where things are ranking. These articles aren’t really at the top of the front page of any search of keywords.

Michael: I disagree with that. Listen, I disagree with that. And I wish you luck.

Lessons from Hang Up By Potential Client

At that point, he hung up. Maybe, I pressed the issue too firmly. I’ve listened to this several times. I could have just given him a bag of magic tricks and been happy with that, but I generally try to work with my clients and we come up with a strategy that is both workable in today’s Google environment and is satisfactory to what their needs and goals are. So that’s all that I really have to say about that except don’t let anyone every stomp you down. I was a little rattled after being hung up on. I don’t remember ever hanging up on somebody except maybe when I was in my teens. It’s a rather juvenile way of communicating. Certainly he wanted to originally have the phone call and the conversation.

I’ve been in this business for 20 years. You’re getting free advice. If you don’t like the advice, you can say, “Thank you very much, I appreciate that,” and decide not to hire somebody. But hanging up is extremely rude unless that’s what they do in Colorado. Maybe I’m just not aware of how people are in Colorado. I’ve never been there. I guess everybody’s on the line for pot, so that might be affecting his business because he’s a criminal lawyer and now you can’t get arrested for drug use. But I wish him luck. I think I’ve proven the case that you’re not going to succeed with exact-match domains anymore.

Again, this was not done maliciously. This episode was done to educate my audience. I think it’s important to recognize that there’s value in a conversation with an expert. Just as he has 30 years of experience and when he sits down with somebody, he expects to be appreciated for the amount of time he’s worked at his craft, I’ve also worked very hard at my craft. I have several degrees and I’ve had good client results. So I thought everybody should really hear that call because it’s good education for both the industry and just for daily life.

I’m sorry if this was a little short. We’ll talk about other stuff in the future. There’s a big shakeup with MyBlogGuest and we can talk about that at another time. For now, have a great week. Take care.


Again, this is Jonathan Goodman and this is the World of Internet Marketing. You can follow me @HalyardConsult on Twitter. New episodes of the World of Internet Marketing can be heard every Friday. You can access the archives of my previous shows on Spreaker.com – user name Jonathan Goodman. The podcast is also available with transcription at halyardconsulting.com and geekcast.fm one week after the episode airs. Thank you all for listening to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. Don’t forget to pick up my book The World of Internet Marketing on Amazon, and if you like this podcast please share it with your network of friends and family. Have a great week.

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