SEO

What is SEO & Why It’s Your Business’s Best Friend

What is SEO & Why It’s Your Business’s Best Friend

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Read time: 3 min

 

September 13, 2023

Summary:

Many consider SEO to be just a part of their digital marketing tactic, but they are very wrong. Properly implemented, SEO soon becomes the architecture that holds your online identity together. From driving targeted organic traffic to sculpting your brand’s reputation, the truth is that SEO is the axis around which your digital strategy revolves. In this article, we will explore SEO and explain how it underpins your online visibility and why ignoring it would be a strategic mistake. Let’s dive deep and equip you with a comprehensive understanding of why SEO is absolutely indispensable in today’s hyper-competitive world of digital marketing.

What is SEO?

Simply put, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the process of improving your website to increase its visibility in Google, Bing, and other search engines. Whenever people search for products and services you offer or the information you are an expert on, SEO puts your name before their eyes.

Imagine, for a moment, a library without a cataloging system, books strewn about without rhyme or reason. Would you find what you’re looking for? Highly unlikely. SEO is a mechanism whose purpose resembles that of a librarian of the internet.

In other words, it’s an entity that guides users to the exact content they’re searching for – while making sure your website isn’t lost in the vast expanse of digital chaos.

Every piece of content you publish should be primed to pop up in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) when potential customers search for products, information, or services relevant to your brand. This involves a strategic fusion of meticulously researched keywords, comprehensive meta-descriptions, and internal linking that satisfies both search engine algorithms and human curiosity.

Importance of SEO

If SEO were a person, it’d be a relentless negotiator and your tireless advocator, one who’s working endlessly to get you the best deal possible in terms of online visibility.

Think of the internet as an endless virtual trade show. Every brand has a booth, but only a select few get the foot traffic. Those are the booths optimized for visibility and customer engagement; that’s the transformative power and importance of SEO

It acts as your advocate who works around the clock to ensure your brand is among the selected few that gain optimal visibility and subsequent engagement.

Unlike traditional advertising, which operates on the ‘spray and pray’ method, SEO helps you target users who are actively searching for information, products, or services like yours and directs them to your digital doorstep. 

In a world obsessed with metrics, SEO gives you tangible results that allow you to measure everything from visitor behavior on your pages to conversion rates. However, as much as SEO can be your best advocate, it can be your worst opponent – if you don’t know to feed it properly.

How SEO Works

When it comes to search engine optimization, there is no singular strategy that will work in all cases. SEO is not a one-size-fits-all model. It’s more of a tailored suit, custom-fitted to align with your brand’s unique selling propositions. But there are a few shared elements. Here’s what goes into a well-developed SEO strategy:

1. Content

We’re talking long-form articles, infographics, video content, and even podcasts, all injected with a shot of relevant keywords to turbocharge their SERP rankings. This content serves a dual purpose: it satisfies the algorithms while providing actionable value to human readers.

2. Backlinking

Every high-quality backlink you earn is akin to a VIP endorsement. Search engines recognize these endorsements as validation of your site’s quality, which translates into boosted organic ranking. But tread carefully, poor-quality backlinks are SEO kryptonite, capable of bringing down even the strongest rankings.

3. Organic Traffic

The holy grail of marketing, as well as yours, is conversion. Organic traffic—users who land on your site through unpaid search results are not accidental tourists, but potential converts. They found you through specific queries, which means they’re interested in what you have to offer. And the more organic traffic you have, your position on SERPs will be higher.

How to Measure the Impact of SEO

In SEO, what gets measured gets managed. If you know how to listen to them, numbers stop being just numbers. They become stories of what’s working, what’s faltering, and what needs to be overhauled.

Poetic language aside, these are the crucial metrics you’ll have to keep an eye on:

  • Organic Search: Monitor your organic search figures closely. A consistent uptick signifies SEO success, while a sudden drop raises a red flag that demands immediate attention.
  • SERP Position: Top-tier SERP positions might be trophies for you. But for search engines – they’re currencies. These positions correlate directly with higher click-through rates and increased visitor engagement, which translates into higher revenue, better traffic, and better business.
  • User Intent: Dive deep into user behavior analytics. Are visitors lingering, or are they bouncing off seconds after landing? Questions like these will help you determine if your SEO strategies are aligning with real-world user intent.

Role of SEO in Digital Marketing

With a robust SEO strategy, your PPC campaigns become more cost-effective, your social media engagements more impactful, and your email open rates soar. Why? Because SEO helps you optimize your content to the point it becomes what your audience needs.

The more you produce content like this, the more reach it will have, the more people will come to your website, and the higher your SERP position will be. And once you have the ball rolling, this will be a closed circle that only improves your business further

The beauty of SEO lies in its cyclicality. Every uptick in your metrics creates a ripple effect that further cements your digital footprint. With each turn of the cycle, your business doesn’t just evolve. It’s like compound interest for your brand equity; you not only build upon past successes but also pave the way for future wins. 

This is SEO in action— a closed loop of endless optimization and exponential growth.

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Conclusion

If you’re not investing in SEO, you’re essentially setting your digital marketing budget on fire. Too many make the mistake of thinking that SEO is just a cog in the machine when it’s the machine itself. From SERP rankings to user engagement and from organic traffic to high conversion rates, the importance of SEO is an undeniable force that drives digital success on multiple fronts.

Here at Assist-o, we are incredibly fortunate to have some of the most talented SEO experts comprising our team. Should the need for their services ever arise, contact us, and we’ll take your brand to the top of the search engine result pages!

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10 Elements of a High Converting Landing Page

10 Elements of a High Converting Landing Page

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Read time: 7 min

 

May 31, 2023

Summary:

This blog is about creating landing pages with high conversion rates for successful online marketing. We cover the essential elements that make a landing page effective, from clear headlines and compelling images to trust signals and mobile optimization. The blog highlights how a landing page can convey your value proposition to increase customer engagement and conversion rates.

What is a Landing Page?

First things first, let’s define what a landing page is. A landing page is a standalone web page designed for marketing or advertising. It’s where a visitor “lands” when they click on a link in an email, social media, or from a search engine result.

The goal of a landing page is to increase conversions by leading your targeted audience to take a specific action – whether downloading an ebook, signing up for a webinar, making a purchase, or simply seeking more information about your product or service.

Why is a High Converting Landing Page Important?

So why do you need a landing page with a high conversion rate? The answer is simple: to maximize the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts. In today’s highly competitive online market, having a web presence is no longer enough. You need successful landing pages that convert visitors into potential customers.

A high-converting landing page is crucial to your marketing and advertising strategy. Not only does it help you attract more visitors, but it also helps you convert them into leads or customers, thus increasing your conversion rate. It also allows you to target and retarget specific audience segments, ensuring a better ROI for your marketing spend.

The 10 Elements of a High Converting Landing Page

Now that we understand the importance of landing pages, let’s dive into the top 10 elements that make up a great landing page:

1. A Clear Headline

A headline has the critical job of grabbing visitors’ attention when they land on your page. It should not only encapsulate what you’re offering but also how it can benefit the visitor. Make it clear, concise, and put the visitor first. For instance, instead of “Our Latest Software,” try putting the benefit first, like “Save Two Hours Every Day.”

2. Subheadline

A good subheadline should support the headline by expanding on the message expressed in the headline and providing additional details. For example, following the previous headline, the subheadline could read, “Streamline your tasks, increase your productivity, and generate leads with our time-saving software.”

3. A Compelling Visual

An image is worth a thousand words. It’s the visual representation of your offer and should immediately appeal to the visitor. High-quality images, diagrams, infographics, or even videos can convey a vivid picture of your product or service. Make sure they’re relevant and reinforce your overall message.

4. Social Proof

We, humans, are often influenced by the actions and opinions of others. That’s where social proof comes into play. Showcasing customer testimonials, success stories, case studies, or industry awards builds credibility and trust and increases the likelihood that visitors will convert.

5. Relevant Copy

The text of your landing page should engage the visitor, pique their interest and make them take action. Use clear language, avoid jargon, and focus on the benefits of your offer. Remember that people want to know what’s in it for them, so make sure your text answers that question.

6. Clear CTA

Your CTA is the action you ask your visitor to take. Whether downloading an ebook, signing up for a webinar, or making a purchase, your CTA should be clear and compelling. Use a contrasting color to make it stand out and actionable text to guide the visitor.

7. Forms

Forms are your golden ticket to lead generation. They should be designed to capture only the necessary information without overwhelming visitors. Keep them simple and accessible, and consider an incentive to encourage completion.

8. Mobile Optimization

In an increasingly mobile world, your landing page needs to work seamlessly on mobile devices. Unfortunately, a frustrating mobile experience can quickly turn off potential customers. The way to counter this is to focus on responsive design, fast load times, easy navigation, and user-friendly forms. Equally as important to this is the central role mobile responsiveness plays in web accessibility. You can check whether your site is mobile responsive using a web accessibility testing tool.

9. Testimonials

Genuine testimonials from satisfied customers can be great confidence builders. They give real-life examples of how your product or service has helped others. If possible, include the customer’s name and photo to increase authenticity and credibility.

10. Trust Signals

Trust signals can be badges from third-party security services, guarantees, or privacy policies. They reassure visitors that their data is safe and that you’re a trustworthy company, which is especially important when asking for sensitive information like credit card data. More on trust signals here.

converting-landing-pages

Conclusion

In conclusion, creating high-converting landing pages is both an art and a science. It’s about understanding your target audience, making them an offer they can’t refuse, and persuading them to take action. With the ten elements we’ve discussed – a clear headline, a supporting subheadline, compelling visuals, social proof, relevant copy, clear CTA, concise forms, mobile optimization, authentic testimonials, and trust signals – you’ll set the stage for a page that not only attracts visitors but also effectively converts them into leads or customers.

But we understand that this can be a daunting task. That’s where Assist-o comes in.

At Assist-o, we have the experience and the equipment to give you the support you need. We know the elements that make a landing page convert, and we can apply them to give your business unparalleled value. From compelling headlines and images to trust signals and clear CTAs, we’ve got you covered.

Plus, our work doesn’t stop when your landing page goes live. We believe that the best landing pages come from continuous testing and refinement. That’s why we continuously monitor your page’s performance, run A/B tests, and collect data. Based on our findings, we make the necessary adjustments to further optimize your page, always with the goal of increasing conversions. With Assist-o, you can rest assured that your landing page is in the hands of experts dedicated to helping your business grow.

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Why Local SEO is Important For Small Businesses

Why Local SEO is Important For Small Businesses

If you grab your phone right now and write something like “best sushi restaurants” in Google Search, chances are you’ll see a list of sushi places near you rather than top sushi franchises around the world. That’s because almost 50% of all Google searches are local, and more than half of “near me” searches typically end up as physical store visits. Google knows that very well, which is why local searches are becoming more and more important for small businesses as time goes by.

Naturally, every small business would like a piece of the action, but not all businesses benefit equally from local SEO.

Who doesn’t benefit from local SEO?

Despite Google’s efforts to support all local businesses, there are certain limitations to what can be done. E-commerce shops, private online sellers, local authors, and basically all companies that refuse to share their info are far less likely to reap local SEO benefits.

So, who does?

Generally, there isn’t a specific business that benefits more from local SEO, but rather specific services that are simply more suitable for users to search for and make decisions on the go. Typically, this includes small local businesses that grab top positions through strong local SEO. That is done through Google My Business, a well-optimized website, or a combination of both.

  • Local Services

This includes florists, plumbers, electricians, hair salons, accountants, fitness centers, real-estate agencies, etc.  

  • Hospitality industry 

Which includes hotels, restaurants, cafés, bars, etc.

  • Law firms 

Mainly solicitors, barristers, attorneys, etc.

  • Medical practices 

Mostly doctors, dentists, clinics, hospitals, etc.

So, if a business falls into any of these categories, local SEO could prove very beneficial for acquiring more foot traffic. And there’s a couple of reasons why.

4 reasons why it’s crucial for SMBs 

1. It doesn’t cost a thing

While aiming for exposure through tools like Google Ads might cost you a lot, local SEO will provide it for free. A Google My Business account alone will put you in front of relevant searchers in no time. It’s easy to set up, and it only takes around 15-20 minutes to do so. Combine that with an optimized listing, a website, and a Facebook page, and you’ll get more visitors without spending a dime on ads.

2. Attracts more local customers

Mobile searches need more information on the go, which is why providing them with the solution they’re looking for almost always leads to more in-store visits. That is where local SEO comes into play. A study in the UK has shown that 34% of local businesses are seen in more than 1,000 discovery searches per month. That goes to prove that having your business listed at the very top of the results makes sure it’s taken into consideration before a decision is made. In most cases, this leads to in-store visits, calls, inquiries, and reviews.

3. Builds trust and expands customer base

Studies have shown that 97% of consumers learn more about a business by checking out their internet presence. And when they do, they’re far more likely to visit a company they see on top of the results than the ones on the bottom. It might sound unfair, but it’s just how it is. People expect information instantly and mostly see the first page results as a potential solution to their problem. That is why they usually get 92% of consumer traffic.

At that point, it all dials down to how well the listing they see is optimized (name, address, phone, images) and how many positive reviews it has. Either way, the first page results still gain their trust, no matter what choice was made. That is a very hefty trick for businesses looking to expand their local customer base, gain trust, and stay on top of their competitors.

4. Increases sales

Global stats show that local SEO drives purchases 28% of the time. That is because standing out in the local searches increases the number of calls, inquiries, and actual foot traffic. In most cases, this corresponds to a significant increase in sales.

How to start off with local SEO

Create a Google My Business account

Google My Business profile is the most effective way to rank higher on Google Maps and Google Search. Creating an account and submitting necessary info takes about 15-20 minutes. After a quick verification process, your business profile becomes eligible in Google Search local results, maps, and knowledge panel.

Encourage customers to leave reviews

Getting more positive reviews from customers doesn’t just optimize your Google My Business presence. It also builds trust, increases retention, and encourages new local customers to stop by and buy. Asking for a review in person after closing the sale might not do the trick nowadays, but a post-purchase email might just help you boost your reviews. 

Consider including a well-optimized website

Including a mobile-friendly website with relevant content increases the chances of gaining the upper hand against your competitors. A well-optimized website should explain how your business solves your potential customer’s problem, and why it’s the most convenient option for them.

Submit website to local directories

Having a well-optimized website sounds good in theory. Right? But, without relevant links pointing to it, it won’t get a lot of online authority that’s needed for it to appear on the first page of relevant search results. An easy way to start things off is to submit your website to local directories and leave your link wherever it’s possible to do so. 

Although links from local directories alone won’t be enough to reach the first page, it’s a good place to start. Later on, you can consider engaging in link-building strategies if you wish to take your online presence and authority to the next level. 

To sum it up, basic local SEO is practically hassle-free and very rewarding. But taking it a bit further requires a carefully planned, comprehensive approach. If you’re not sure how to start it off, but you want those top local results, let’s talk about it.

White hat vs Black hat SEO: Where do you draw the line?

White hat vs Black hat SEO: Where do you draw the line?

Among many things that first-comers do, searching for hefty tips and tricks to speed up the process has to be at the top of the list. So, while searching for the fastest workarounds internet has to offer, they’ll most likely stumble upon the most common do’s and the don’ts in the industry –  black hat and white hat techniques. But where do you draw the line? With all the information available, things tend to get a bit confusing, so it’s best to clear all the doubts from the start. Let’s start from scratch, shall we?

White Hat SEO

Refers to the most ethical practices that can be done to increase search engine rankings. It means playing by the rules and following (in the case of Google) Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Black Hat SEO

Refers to both risky and highly unethical practices that use various exploits to manipulate search engine rankings. The worst part about them? They actually work. Until they don’t, or in other words until they’re patched out by the latest algorithm update. So, although black hat SEO can bring in results faster, it will eventually lead to a severe penalty. Among many black hat SEO tactics, some of the most popular are doorway pages, link schemes, hidden text or links, and cloaking.

White Hat vs Black Hat

In a nutshell, one plays in the favor of the guidelines, and the other manipulates them. One’s the hero and one’s the villain. While one follows a long-term approach, the other one aims for quick wins. Where one relies more on providing value to the audience, the other one tries to deceive it. But that’s not all there is to it. In the SEO world, not everything is necessarily just black or white. There is a space in between that’s worth mentioning as well.

Gray Hat SEO: The space in between

Refers to a combination of white and black hat techniques, or simply tactics that are currently neither white hat nor black hat but might be one in the future. It’s not necessarily something you’d get penalized for, but it isn’t something you’d gladly tell anyone about either. It can be something that switches from white hat to black hat, or a mix of both. It can be a good practice, with a bad intention, or a bad practice with a good intention. It’s a thin line, but a very blurry one.

Why does it matter?

Knowing the difference helps decrease unnecessary risks that could become fatal for the business you’re doing it for. Especially if SEO is a strong source of income for that particular business. This helps you stay in check with what works very well, but shouldn’t be done at all. Confused? Let’s shed some light on that.

A few examples

What if I told you that there are certain tactics that basically fall into all three categories, depending on how they’re executed? You’d be shocked right? Well, it’s true, and a great example of that is link building. By definition, link building is a black hat strategy, but it’s marketed as white hat because there are certain tricks SEOs can do to make it fall into the gray hat category. So, in the example of link building:

  • White Hat SEO: Creating valuable content that attracts links on its own because it’s a prominent source of information.
  • Black Hat SEO: Private Blogging Networks (PBNs), spamming blog comments and paying for links in any form or shape
  • Gray Hat SEO: Creating content specifically for the purpose of attracting links by providing more value and information than the competitors

Key takeaways

As a beginner, make sure that you’ve got the right information in front of you before you engage in “boosting” your SEO. Webmaster guidelines are a good place to start. Don’t experiment with black hat techniques. They might work but are not worth it. Always remember that something that sounds too good to be true almost always is. But doesn’t necessarily have to be. If you’re confident enough, check for any gray areas that might be worth your time. If you’re not, tell us what’s up and we’ll step in to help you out.

How Long Does SEO Take to Show Results

How Long Does SEO Take to Show Results

“How long will it take?” and “When will I rank?“ are undoubtedly the most asked questions in the SEO world. The answer, however, used to be a lot more simple than it is now. Natural language processing was nowhere to be seen and a bunch of algorithms that shape the modern search ecosystem (panda, hummingbird, penguin, etc.) didn’t even exist. At that time, nothing could’ve stopped you from stuffing core keywords and ranking on them within a month, while farming spammy backlinks to push that rank as high as you’d like.

But times have changed since then. Many of those strategies don’t work anymore, and almost all of them are never worth it in the long run. So, the answer to the most popular questions went from “a few weeks” to “it depends” – and rightfully so.

However, the situation isn’t all that bad (or slow, if you will). SEO results can still occur relatively fast, but they shouldn’t be confused with SEO success – a completely different thing that actually takes a lot of time.

SEO results and SEO success are not the same thing

SEO results are measurable KPI increases that show the impact SEO has made throughout a smaller time frame. They also serve as proof of concept for brands that are investing time and resources into it. SEO success, on the other hand, is a point where an end-goal of an SEO strategy is reached.

When to expect the results

Presuming that the correct approach is applied, SEO results could take 4-12 months to show. Long-tailed keywords are higher in intent and less competitive than broad keywords, which means ranking on them could be possible in 4-6 months, depending on the market. Broad keywords on the other hand, need a more sophisticated approach and could take up to 12 months to actually show tangible results. This is why an local seo strategy needs to be carefully prepared, tailored, and deployed in order to allocate time and resources accordingly.

What do the results look like?

A healthy SEO result should represent a gradual increase in traffic, leads, and conversions. Bear in mind that 500 people in traffic doesn’t equate to 500 leads, nor do 500 leads necessarily equate to 500 conversions. Discrepancies, like in every other marketing strategy, are natural. However, it’s important to determine which exact KPI is the most relevant to reaching SEO success. If the strategy revolves mainly around building strong authority & brand awareness, then the obvious core KPI would be traffic itself. On the other hand, if the end goal is increasing sales annually, core KPIs are leads and conversions. Either way, any increase in the most relevant KPI, whether big or small, is what SEO results look like. There’s really nothing more to it.

Photo: searchengineland.com

When to expect SEO success?

Depending on the defined end goal and the market itself, SEO success can take from 12 to 24 months. Generally speaking, the larger the scope of the end goal, the more time it takes to actually achieve scalable results and eventually reach projected SEO success.

What does SEO success look like?

To put things in context, if the SEO strategy focuses on promoting a winning product for a specific brand, a typical end goal would be reaching an annual 10% increase in sales. If a specific brand chooses to focus on strong authority and brand awareness, a typical end goal would include a traffic milestone within a specific time period (e.g., 100k/month within a year). But that’s not all there is to it.

 Photo: smallbusinesssem.com

There are many factors that aren’t exactly in the spotlight but are essential to reaching SEO success. Some of them were beautifully portrayed by Small Business Sem in this very insightful infographic. This goes to prove that SEO isn’t only about high rankings and huge surges of traffic.

3 core factors that impact SEO results and success

Although SEO takes a significant amount of time to show results, let alone success, there are 3 key factors that could slightly speed up the process.

Competition is significantly lower on long-tailed keywords as they tend to have less volume, but more customer intent, regardless of the market size. Ranking on these won’t necessarily take as long as ranking on broader keywords would, plus it brings in SEO results relatively fast.

However, tackling broader keywords means larger market share, which is why they can’t be overlooked if the goal is to reach SEO success. But it also means competing against the strongest players in the market. 

Usually, these players tend to have the deepest pockets so it’s not a surprise to see them grab larger market share while offering strong competitive deals to remain profitable. They do it by hiring the best SEO professionals in the industry which makes them even harder to compete against. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be outranked. Monitoring their past, present, and all future progress could point to a strong competitive advantage you can use to snatch your fair share of market share.

Backlinks, especially high-quality ones in high quantities, are strong signals to Google that a brand is being acknowledged as a prominent service provider in its market. It’s also a strong competitive advantage due to being very difficult to attain by competitors. However, most businesses find themselves in situations where their backlink profile is impressive, but not necessarily effective. This is mainly because their link-building efforts sacrifice quality for quantity. In most cases, these strategies include PBNs or other automated methods that don’t necessarily last as long as organic link-building does. PBN domains get penalized relatively quickly, and automated messages sent in bulk rarely convert on stronger backlink prospects. 

Not only does this harm the overall backlink profile, but also increases link velocity – the rate at which your backlink profile grows. An unnatural link velocity can be considered as a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, which could eventually lead to severe penalties. To ensure that SEO results actually lead to SEO success, it’s important to invest time and resources into a sound link-building strategy that prioritizes relevant, high-quality backlinks over anything else. 

Content that resonates with the audience and provides a simple and effective solution to their problem is a strong competitive advantage that makes a brand stand out in the SERPs. In most cases, you tend to see these pieces of content on position zero, otherwise known as the rich snippet. When it comes to length, website content needs to be long enough to solve the problem you’re providing a solution for. This means that there isn’t a specific word count that Google favors over the other.

Longer, high-quality content proved to be a strong backlink magnet, but that doesn’t mean that every piece of content should contain 5000 words. If the problem you’re trying to solve for your audience can fit in 300 words, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Even if your direct competitor has a 5k monster that explains it in more detail, your biggest competitive advantage would be explaining it better. Including colorful, easy-to-understand infographics is a sound way of solving the problem your audience has and becoming a strong backlink magnet at the same time. Bear in mind that website titles and descriptions play a massive role as well. Having quality content is definitely a strong signal sent out to Google, which will eventually increase your rankings. But to reach the top 5, you’ll need enticing titles that lead to clicks and a strong click-through rate.

Rankings aren’t everything

Although rankings provide a strong sense of success and emotional satisfaction, they aren’t exactly the main determinants for SEO success. In a nutshell, if a specific brand ranks high on keywords that aren’t backed up by customer search intent, the high ranking position (and most likely the traffic that it’s bringing) it has is practically worthless. To some extent, this does increase brand awareness and brand recognition. But if the end-goal of the strategy is to increase sales, the efforts placed into optimizing and link-building are simply a waste of time and resources.

Key takeaways

Reaching SEO results is a strong proof of concept, but if it doesn’t align with the end goal of the SEO strategy, it’s practically worthless. This is why it’s important to have a strong SEO framework that focuses on short-term milestones and long-term goals while leveraging available competitive advantages to bring in quality results as soon as possible. One step at a time.

A sound SEO strategy is a synonym for strong market understanding, calculated allocation of time and resources, and delivering scalable solutions to brands. It takes time, effort and dedication, something greatly favored by Assist-o, and endlessly appreciated by its clients. If you feel that now is the time to take your SEO efforts to the next level, let’s talk about it.