Dmitrii Kustov is an entrepreneur and the Founder of Regex SEO, developing marketing campaigns for well-known companies like John Deere and Dignity Memorial. He graduated with dual degrees in Applied Mathematics, and Linguistics & Translatology from Russia. Currently, as Internet Marketing Director for Regex SEO, he is helping businesses and entrepreneurs grow their presence online. Due to his experience and background, he has been able to share hands-on knowledge about Internet marketing (SEO, paid advertising, social media, content marketing, etc), statistical analytics, web development, and entrepreneurship.
On this episode, Dmitrii and I discuss his emphasis on UX and design, how that emphasis increases brand visibility, strategies to increase SEO rankings, and much more.
What is Regex SEO
Dmitrii Kustov: All right. Well, we are a holistic marketing company, online marketing company. And we take businesses from wherever they are, whatever level they're on to that next level to the new heights. And we try to do it all with data driven strategies and with the idea to extract the most out of your marketing budget. This way there's no waste. It's all efficient. And actually gets you results. So, yeah, that's a one liner for you.
Alex Bond: Yeah, yeah, no, that's great. I mean, because the services you provide is a lot. It's a wide variety. So, what would you consider among that wide variety, the foundation of your business plan with Regex?
Dmitrii Kustov: Data. So, we all start everything with data because every business is different. And in e commerce, people might think, well, it's e commerce. That's all the same stuff. Not really. To give you a very quick example, let's say. If you are e commerce business trying to sell, I don't know cogs for oil and gas machinery, clientele and the audience is very different and the way you would reach them is very different versus if you're trying to sell t shirts.
So if we don't do like predetermined plans and for that exact reasons, because we need to find out where your audience is, who they are and how to, you can reach them in the most efficient way. After we figure that out, we go from there. And that's how we get great results. So in terms of foundation, yeah, it all has to start with data.
I have a little saying that I always not introduced to our new clients and stuff, but whenever I speak at conferences and so on, the data is not meant to be. A by product of marketing. But in fact, all of the decisions should derive from that data in a lot of businesses, like, Oh yeah, we just got some data. We'll take a look at it later. That's not how it's supposed to work.
Alex Bond: Where they have it and it kind of sits on the shelves, but they're not exactly using it for the purpose that it's supposed to be used. It's more of a yardstick. If that makes more sense.
Dmitrii Kustov: It's an afterthought, definitely in a lot of businesses.
Exploring the Customization Process at Regex: Tailoring Marketing Plans for Individual Clients
Alex Bond: So one of the other major selling points for Regex is. At least from my research and on your website is your customization process, right? So you are very proud to be able to customize pretty much the marketing plan for each individual client. I'm curious what that process looks like, because just to kind of hammer it home, I have such a wide variety of services that customizing, it sounds like it can be a complicated process. I'm curious about that. Do you mind elaborating?
Dmitrii Kustov: Yeah, of course. Well, so because every business again is different and the audience lives on different channels, you have to be investing more into certain channels for your specific business than others. We run a lot of data analysis before we start any marketing to make sure that the, every dollar, every marketing dollar is being spent in the most efficient way.
So again, with the example of some kind of cogs for oil and gas industry, it would not make sense for you to do social media advertising or like TikTok advertising. You know, that's not where your audience lives. That's not where they're going to go to find that type of product versus again, if you're some kind of t shirts and have some cute designs.
Then yeah, TikTok is for you and social media is for you. And SEO, for example, for t shirts is probably not the greatest idea. So from that perspective, our customization comes in from there. What are the most efficient channels? What does the data say? Because also at the same time in 99 percent of cases, I mean, really it's a hundred percent of cases, budgets are always limited.
Even if the budget is a million dollars, it's still limited to a million dollars. So the point is that we need to find the most efficient ways to invest that marketing budget. To get the most leads, the most sales for our clients. And that's where the customization of the marketing plan comes in.
Setting Regex Apart: The Unique Blend of SEO Expertise and Marketing Agency Capabilities
Alex Bond: If you can only do so much with so much, you know, I mean, it's definitely limited when it comes to budget. So we've talked about the importance of data, that customization process. How would you separate Regex from other SEO companies or other marketing agencies? Cause it's a little bit of both and maybe that's the answer in and of itself.
Dmitrii Kustov: Could you expand on that? Yeah, exactly. That is the answer. And the reason I started, founded this company was for that exact reason of no plans. Let's look at each client, each business is individual and we need to find the best solutions for them. Even for businesses in the same industry.
Like we work with a lot of home services companies where they do minor like AC repairs and things of that nature. And even within the industry, depending on where you're located, what state you're in, what, what city you're in, what type of service exactly you provide, you still have to adjust the approach.
And for example, let's say, I don't know if a business is in Texas versus a business is in Minnesota. The demand and search volume, and therefore all of the marketing for heating will be very, very different. You know, in Texas, people don't know what heaters are in Minnesota or Northern States, it's at least half of the year, you have to use your heating devices again.
If we just were to take a plan that is kind of predetermined, just the package plan and then started optimizing for heating for a company in Texas, half of the budget, just what is an SEO or I mean, really in general, half of the budget would go to nowhere. So that's the main reason, because I used to work at the company and with bunch of companies, SEO companies that have those plans that you know, you go to their website, they have final like a thousand dollars, 2,000 and 3,000 budget or plan.
And there you go. You just, no matter if you're a dentist, lawyer, home service company, whoever you are, just. Pick the same stuff out of the three things did not make sense to me. That's why I decided to found this company and the rest is history.
Unconventional Excellence: The Emphasis on UX and Design at Regex, Setting a New Standard in SEO
Alex Bond: You also put a major emphasis at Regex on UX and design. And I find that extremely interesting. Is that kind of an unconventional focal point for an SEO company? Because I've seen some that kind of talk about its importance, but not ones that seem to put as much of an emphasis as your company does. So, you know, again, my question is, is that considered an unconventional focus point for an SEO company?
Dmitrii Kustov: Maybe not as unconventional. It's not easy. And a lot of SEO companies, low level, not good quality SEO companies, they just bypass it and not bypass it. They don't care or they can't do it for one reason or the other. But the point is this nowadays, especially nowadays, Google has a search engine, especially for SEO.
They're paying more and more attention to user experience and what's called user metrics. The example would be, let's say you go to Google and search something. And you know, one of the results pops up, you click on it and clearly it's not what you were looking for.
And as a user, you just click back right away, more or less, or let's say you click on that result.
And it takes forever to load, just, you know, keep spinning and spinning, spinning. You're going to same thing. You're going to click back. Or maybe if you're using on a mobile device, it's all screwed up and you can't really read anything because the font is too small or all broken.
So all of that is user experience and for in kind of in the eyes of Google, in the eyes of search engines, if their goal search engines goal is to give searchers the best possible result. In the quickest way possible. And if they see that bunch of people click on certain result and then click right back, or they click on a certain result and it takes forever to load.
And that's the reason they click back. That ruins the user experience of using Google itself. So nowadays Google more and more, not just supporting, but they are forcing more than encouraging for websites to have good user experience and good user metrics. Now, also from business perspective.
Let's say you have some kind of great marketing campaign, whatever that is, SEO or not SEO, and you get a million people to go to your website, but again, your website is broken or super difficult to navigate, super difficult to find information, super difficult to find a way to call your business or you know schedule an appointment or fill out a form or whatever it is.
So you've got this million people to your website, but that did not result into any leads, any sales. What's the point? For the business user experience results in higher conversion rates, higher lead rates, higher sales rates. So it's one piece of a giant puzzle.
But without it, you know, it's all like the funnels and all that stuff. It's, it's at the end of the funnel, which is the most important part of sales and marketing at the end of the funnel, because sure, again, you get a million people to your website, but nobody buys anything. What's the point?
Alex Bond: And I don't want to be reductive. But are there any sort of specific ways that brands can use UX and design to increase their visibility and their SEO rankings? I mean, from what I'm hearing you say, that's the point. Are there any like maybe specific examples of stuff that companies might be overlooking?
Dmitrii Kustov: Sure. And again, none of the UX field is huge, but at the end of the day. There are a couple main things, obviously, mobile devices are very popular now. Everybody has a phone. So make sure that your website, it doesn't just work on mobile, but typically, especially in e commerce, you want it to be mobile first.
So meaning that it's specifically designed for mobile, not just, you know, take the desktop version of the website and kind of shrink it down and hope for the best. You have to think about what people are looking for, how to present that information in the easiest, quickest way, and so on. Obviously needs to load quick enough.
Nowadays, quick enough is considered about one second. If it's over three seconds of load time, you're not going to get great results. At least not in terms of SEO. And again, from a user experience perspective, those are kind of like the main things that then break down into a bunch of other things. But yeah, just properly designed, properly structured website that works great on mobile. And loads quickly and the rest kind of is going out of that.
Unlocking SEO Success: The One Key Strategy to Boost Your Brand's Ranking
Alex Bond: So I'm curious if you had any insight on what's maybe the one thing that brands can do to increase their SEO ranking. I know that there's a million, I know that there's a, you know, it's a lot more complicated than that, but just to kind of like try to simplify it and make it as succinct as possible, what would you consider to be like? At least the one thing that could really be a difference maker in increasing their SEO ranking.
Dmitrii Kustov: All right. So in terms of SEO rankings, the first and foremost thing is great content. That's kind of it. If we boil it down to the basic idea, if you're not talking about kittens, you can't rank for kittens, right? If you're talking about puppies, you won't be ranking for kittens. So content, that's where it all starts.
And the better the content is now the word better. is very stretchable and it's not subjective. It's more depends on the situation and the way the easiest way I can explain it is, again, think about what your users want, not what you want to tell them, but what they are looking for. What is the. What are the questions they're trying to answer, get answers for?
What things matter for them? Don't just take a off the site, off the shelf, some kind of template, website, whatever, and just take it at it's how it is and don't think about it. Like if you're, I don't know, let's say you're selling some kind of equipment. What parts of equipment, what metrics, what specifications?
Is it important to the people and are they important to your customers in the first place? Like I don't know, let's say, we talked about t shirts. If somebody is trying to buy a tshirt, what is important to them? Well, I would assume quality is an itchy, but basically that's an ingredient, right? Like what is it?
I understand cotton or is it made out of fire ants? Also, of course, the design, it needs to be clear picture. But like, would it matter, I don't know, the circumference of the neck hole? I wouldn't care. Yeah. Who would care, right? So putting that stuff up front, who cares? But things that people do care about that needs to be up front and front and center.
And then for SEO content kind of need to just for purposes of ICO, you need to talk about other features and whatever else in maybe below the, below what we call the fold, below the first screen, what that is displayed on the website so that it does not interrupt user flow. You can have the SEO content.
Maybe at the bottom of the page, so that search engines get all of their goodness, that they understand that you're selling t shirts, but then at the same time does not interrupt the user journey. So yeah, great. FAQs, very good thing nowadays because most people do ask questions.
The Testimonial Revolution: How Customer Endorsements Have Transformed the B2C Website Landscape
[Alex Bond: Sorry to interrupt you, Dmitrii, but I've also noticed that testimonials are extremely important. Is that something that has, that has changed? Because I feel like when I was looking at a lot of websites, even just like three, four years ago, not everything was as, as testimonial based. But now, I can't go to a single like B2C website without testimonial being on the homepage. Is that something that has changed? Why is that so important?
Dmitrii Kustov: Testimonials are a bit of the weird area and here's why. Just a written testimonial, like a text testimonial put on a website. People don't trust it. Because it can be faked. You can say anybody's name and you can say whatever you want. So that's one problem. Second problem is of course, as a business owner, as a site owner, you're going to the best ones.
So from a user perspective, everybody understands that, okay, it's curated. They're going to put their best foot forward. So instead, what we found to be better is be very transparent about reviews overall on different platforms. So let's say you have, I know, a hundred reviews, 4. 8 stars or whatever from Google, like a Google My Business listing.
Okay. Say we have, you know, 4.8 stars, a hundred reviews, and here's a link to the, where you can read all of them, the good and the bad, and then maybe you have also reviews on Facebook and then you have reviews on another platform. And so on and so on. So this way you are front and center. It's like, Hey, we have total of, you know, thousand reviews.
This is the average rating and you can read them all here, here and here. The good, the bad, and the ugly. This way people understand that you're not hiding anything. Otherwise like, well, yeah, of course they're going to put the best of you front and center. Why would they not? That's kind of how you hack it, but that's my advice basically.
Alex Bond: No, I think that transparency piece is extremely valuable because again, if I'm honest, I do a lot of research and I go to a lot of these websites and that's probably the one thing that I just skip over, I will parse and I'll get deep. And I like reading the FAQs and going through almost every page I can get my hands on.
But the testimonials is the one thing that I don't really care about. Cause I know what's there. It's going to say this company is really good. So I think something like transparency could be extremely valuable where it's a little more objective at least. And then, you know, some are written blurbs and then others are like user generated videos.
Dmitrii Kustov: That part is yes. So video testimonials, actual video, proper video testimonials. They are still really good because you can't fake it. It's a video from a customer or with a customer, and they're talking about the product or whatever, where it's clear it's not a paid review because nowadays, you know, you can go to YouTube or TikTok influencer and just pay them and they will say nice things. But again, people are not stupid. People understand. So if it's real, absolutely put those front and center. I don't have a problem with that. The more you have, the better, because again, it's very clear. It's not faked.
Alex Bond: Yeah. And it's a little muddy if I'm being sold to or not, you know, if I see someone wrote this blurb, they took the time out. It feels like very, you know, selly. And if I watch a video of someone kind of saying this company did so and so for me, and I highly recommend them.
I can tell when I'm being sold to or not. And so I definitely feel like it's more authentic and that I just like, I buy that this person or this company provided a service to this user and they really appreciated it. So that makes me maybe want to use them. And I think that they can definitely be a little more valuable nowadays.
Dmitrii Kustov: Yeah, absolutely. And then it's not really a testimonial, but the pictures of people. Either wearing or using the product in real life. It's kind of a bit of a testimonial as well saying that, Hey, I actually use it.
And here's how it looks. So it hits multiple birds with one stone where the potential buyer can see that other people's actually using it. And maybe if it's something like like again, t shirt, then how it can look on man versus how it looks on the woman, kid and so on. So they can kind of understand how it actually looks.
Mastering the Art of Multifaceted Marketing: How We Deliver High-Quality Services Across a Wide Range of Solutions
Alex Bond: And you know, speaking of multiple birds with one stone, your company does that with all of these services that you provide. It's really, really a impressively wide variety. My question to you, Dmitrii, is how are you able to ensure that all of these services are of such a high quality when you offer so many different marketing solutions?
I mean, it's kind of I was just talking with a gentleman yesterday about the philosophy that I don't necessarily agree with of a jack of all trades, master of none type of thing. So how do you ensure that you are a master of all of them?
Dmitrii Kustov: So our audience is, we don't work with anybody. We do have kind of a bit of a niche. We do mostly work with home services companies. We do work with other companies as well, actually e commerce as well. So that's kind of one way to understand the industry you're working in the best you can. If you understand how business works, if you understand how the industry works, then you can find solutions that are useful, that are just from experience.
You're going to know that they're going to work or not going to work and so on. So that's one thing. Second is, I mean, our team is just awesome with a lot of experience and we, because we base everything on data, we're not going to sell something that we are not sure in. We're not going to do something that we know doesn't work or most likely it's not going to work.
There's like, it's a cycle where we basically research, hypothesize, proof the hypothesis, then we implement, then we look at the data again after implementation and then optimize. And then the circle cycle starts over again. So it's not about what we want to do necessarily. It's not about what we think.
Definitely. It's what about data tells us. So the quality of service comes from what data tells us. And what that means is if we see that, like, for example, we don't do social media, like posts, we don't do social media content production because we've done it before and the data showed us, like, we're just not good at it.
So why offer a mediocre service where we know that there are a bunch of companies out there that can provide a great service in terms of content, social media, content production. And then we, we do what we are really good at, which is, you know, SEO and VPC and whatever other things that are actually data driven.
So yeah, like from that perspective, we offer what we know we have data prone record that we are good at. So that's kind of how we choose and become the, the master in one thing, because It's not that we take anybody who comes to us when any industry with any product and do whatever they, the client, potential client thinks they need.
It's let's go where the data tells us to go. And if in certain cases, if it doesn't make sense, if we can't help, if the data says we can't help for one way or the other, when we're going to tell you that, and we're not going to work with you because we don't want to offer something that. You're not going to be happy with very recently, actually, a couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with a potential client and they were trying to achieve 36 percent reduction in cost per lead.
We ran the numbers. We looked at the data. It's like, look. It looks like we can get you like 27, it doesn't look like we can get you 36. There you go. Would you like that 27 percent decrease? And if it's not enough for you, then sorry, I'm not going to sell you something I can't be certain I can deliver. You want to mitigate expectations.
Alex Bond: You want, you don't want to over promise and under deliver. You want to do the opposite, you know?
Dmitrii Kustov: Exactly. There you go. I think I hope I answered your question.
Building a Strong Foundation: Essential Services and Solutions for New eCommerce Brands without Extensive Data
Alex Bond: And I'd kind of like to take it a little step further and ask. I know that it's data driven. I know that your foundation is data. So that might inform your answer to this question.
But I don't want to be unfair and say, take that out of the equation, but what's kind of like a general baseline of services and solutions that you recommend to a newer e commerce brand, someone who's kind of just trying to get their foot in the door and maybe they don't have a lot of data as an example.
I mean, obviously there's data on what's your target audiences and your budget and all that sort of stuff. But, you know, you guys have email marketing, some social media UX. There's so much that what would you recommend to maybe like a newer client?
Dmitrii Kustov: Does start with some kind of research. So if you don't have your own first party data yet, part of any business plan, you should do research, market research, industry research, whatever other research. So even if you don't have your own data yet, you should have data from other sources. It's one thing.
Second common sense. A lot of things are common sense at the end of the day. Again, like cogs, some kind of parts for oil and gas machinery. Yeah. TikTok is not for you. That's, that's kind of more or less clear. And then after that, just experimentation. And I would not go anywhere without data because if you don't have it.
Let's find like we do have a daily research as a service, if you don't know where to go and how to do it, we'll look it up for you. We'll show you all of the stuff that we can find and make decisions based on that. Cause you know, I could say it's like, okay, we'll do SEO first, but if I'm wrong, cause if it's just my opinion, then maybe you go ahead and hire an agency or in house person, SEO person and start paying them, spending money and.
If it's not going to result in anything good, then what's the point? Why are we doing all this? So yeah, there's a bunch of tools out there that will help you understand how many people are searching on Google, how many people are using ads, you know, like Google ads or Bing ads or Google local services ads, how many people are, the recall percentage and stuff on social media and so on and so on and so on.
So the idea always is where do your customers, live online. And then if you know where they are, you can build out and marketing strategy fairly easily with, and then after that, yeah, experimentations like, okay, we know that these three channels could work or data shows that they would work. Let's invest a little bit here and a little bit there. See how it performs, compare them to each other.
After that, let's pound on the best performing one. And then after that one is at maybe 80 percent efficiency, let's start implementing and investing into other channels or in the second most efficient channel, so on and so on and so on. So yeah, I would not go anywhere without data. I'm not going to be able to deliver any good results. It's just shooting in the dark.
Rising Stars of Digital Marketing: Unveiling Trending Channels with Data-Driven Insights
Alex Bond: I'm curious if you see certain channels that are trending upward in popularity. You know, I talk to a lot of people who will say, number one with a bullet is email marketing. You know, I talk to other people who say, earlier you said it might be content. I'm curious from your experience Looking at trends, which is only possible with data. What is kind of trending upward in popularity and efficacy?
Dmitrii Kustov: Content marketing is definitely one of the biggest things nowadays. We all are on YouTubes and TikToks and so on. So at the end of the day, no matter what service or product you provide, you should have content marketing strategy. Kind of, it just depends on how much you're going to be pushing it. If it's your sole and main channel versus if it's supportive channel.
But at the end of the day, in e commerce for most businesses, content marketing is going to be the one of the primary channels, I would say. Even if it's simple, not, not like unboxing, but presentations of your product, like, Hey, here's the product that we have, here's what it does.
Here is it's specifications, here it's what it's made of, whatever else. This way you can use it like just in a video on a product page so that people have more certainty before buying that they're buying the right thing. Obviously for small, simple things like, I know a pen or whatever, simple, cheap pen, nobody cares, but if it's something that you're going to pay a couple of hundred bucks for, or even more, some kind of equipment, especially.
You do want as much understanding about it as, as you can possibly get as a customer. So the more expensive the product, the more information I have to give to the client and the to the customer. And the easiest way nowadays is video because, you know, picture worth a thousand words and video therefore has to be worth a million times worth.
And it's for them where they're worth a thousand words. So yeah, content marketing, I would say definitely. And then email marketing, yes, is quite important in e commerce business, just for the simple reason of abandoned carts and products left in the cart.
And also if it's e commerce, you're selling products, therefore at some point you're going to be running some kind of promotions, offers, and also if you do content marketing, you can, that's email marketing becomes another channel to promote or to announce the content marketing. Also, like, Hey, we just released this video and it's about this, go watch it.
Alex Bond: And I think it's engaging. I think you're touching on something extremely valuable and it makes the audience feel that's the closest to a relationship with a brand or a business is how they present themselves and their content.
You know, I can only get so much when I'm looking at a screen or reading words or looking at pictures or, or, or the design and the borders and the colors. But when I'm, I feel like I'm being talked to from another person, that's the closest to a relationship that I feel like I have with brand.
Dmitrii Kustov: Yeah, for sure. Now, one of the things that I want to say is, especially in terms of content and emails, really make sure that the, I hate to use the word quality because it can be misinterpreted. When I say the quality is high, this is what I mean. Make sure that again, you are giving content, you're providing content, you're providing things that people.
actually need, not what you think they want. And that's one of the biggest things. A lot of people use email, a lot of businesses use email marketing where email marketing is kind of a, not an afterthought, but it's like, Hey, we need, we need to send two emails a week. Why do your users, do your customers want that two, two, two times a week?
What are you going to put there? And it becomes this chase after nothing. It's like, okay, we have to send two emails a week. Okay. Well, we got to put something in that email. Okay. Therefore we got to produce two blog posts or whatever, two videos a week. Well, okay, well now we have to be producing two blog posts or content or whatever videos a week.
And then what are we going to be talking about? I just, let's talk about whatever. And it just becomes this chase. For no reason. So the idea is whatever channel it is, email marketing, SEO, video marketing, whatever it is, make sure that, that you are addressing, basically you're creating such a great high quality content in terms of what actually users want, that people, they were looking forward to it, basically.
People, their customers are like, here's a very, very simple example in terms of specifically in terms of email marketing. You can send out daily deals. We have a daily deal today and it's 2 off on this, you know, 1,000 product. Nobody's going to care about that. Versus if you build it very nicely, maybe send it like once a month, once a quarter, whatever it is. Have really great discounts, really great promotions, segment your email list properly.
This way, whenever a customer receives that email, they understand like, Oh, this is awesome. And I'm going to be missing out if I don't read this type of email. And from there, even if later down the road, maybe they're not ready to buy now, but they will be ready to buy later. They gonna remember that this company, they sell this type of product.
And they are going to be, they're sending out the emails on, let's say monthly basis. So even if they're not going to read it and open the email right now, they still remember that somewhere in their email. Inbox, there is a discount or offer or whatever else, the most recent one that has high value, it's the value there, but not the quality, it's the value, high value for the, for the customer.
Whenever they actually need the product in the back of their head, they'll remember like, okay, because of company, always their emails are high value. You just didn't need it at the moment. Now I do, let me go back. And find them in my email inbox. So maybe even if it's spam, went into spam folder, they're going to look in spam folder.
And if they can't find it there, they're going to reach out to customer support. Like I have done it multiple times myself. Like I follow certain brands. I love their products. And then when I don't need it right now, but a couple of months down the road, it's like, okay, actually I need it now. I gonna go out of my way and reach out to the company.
If I can't find it, some kind of email or offer or whatever. I'm going to reach out to the company, talk to their chat or their support, maybe call them whatever else on social media, but I actually going to go out of my way for them to sell it to me. Like that's like the crazy part. As a customer, I go out of my way for them to sell me their product because I want it now.
They prove that they have high value. That's the whole point of it. Versus if they have been sending me stupid little emails, annoying emails every day, or video content on YouTube daily that is just complete garbage. That diminishes the value of the brand. That diminishes the value of your product.
And instead of me going out of the way to ask them for the product, to reach out to them for sale, to sell me the product, I would go out of the way and block them on my social media, unsubscribe and, you know, put them in spam folders and whatever else. So two different ways that are determined by the quality or rather, again, the value of what you provide to our customers as a business.