#416 - Anchor Text Best Practices When Using Google

Video Transcript

Anchor text is the text used in the links to your site. It used to be that if you acquire enough links with the appropriate keywords in the anchor text that your site will begin to rank for those keywords. But at some point websites experienced penalizations for having statistically unnatural ratios of anchor text links. What is the best practice for the use of anchor text today? Join Matt and Chris for another thrilling episode of the Best SEO Podcast, featuring “Anchor Text Best Practices for Google” by Roger Montti. TRANSCRIPT:

Chris: Hi and welcome to the SEO Podcast: Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing. My name is Chris Burres, owner of eWebResults.

Matt: My name is Matt Bertram, your SEO Expert.

Chris: Welcome back to another fun-filled edition of our podcast, this is Podcast #416.

Matt: Oh wow.

Chris: As always we have a tip from our previous podcast. We need to make sure our video guy has the camera in the right mode. Where he’s gotta turn off the screen and– oh, turn on the screen. And then press the red button, and then–

Matt: We’re gonna have an intermission here.

Chris: And we always have a tip and the tip from the previous podcast is–

Matt: If you want to become a topical expert on a subject, just read my book!

Chris: That’s right! Last time we were talking about being an expert on a particular topic and Matt has a book coming out really soon. I’m finishing one edit pass. So make sure you check out that book. Title?

Matt: BuildYourBrandMania.com

Chris: BuildYourBrandMania.com. Subscribe. Follow.

Chris & Matt: Boom!

Matt: Yeah, I’m still working on the landing page so don’t go there yet.

Chris: Yeah, don’t go to the website yet. Alright. So I wanted to jump into this. So, we are here in Houston. Matt and I–

Matt: We are. Yeah, we are.

Chris: We are–

Matt: We’re here in Houston.

Chris & Matt: We’re your Results Rebels!

Chris: And we do have a review. So that’s really exciting. It is of course–

Chris & Matt: 5 stars!

Chris: And it actually was posted on AgencySpotter.com by Krissie Colton. Punch in the face to you Krissie Colton. By the way, some of the nuances of this podcast really kind of created memes around the office. And we’ll talk about that, so it’s kinda fun. It says “Had a FREE 15 minute phone call which was amazing, such valuable advice and feedback. I learnt so much and have already made changes to my website as advised by Johan Parra. Even did a screen share thing to show me what i needed to change. Bless him! He even emailed me some bullet points after, such a nice man and what a great company. I feel like I know you all since I’ve been listening to the podcast for ages, hope one day i can save for the website analysis, that’s the plan. ” Punch in the face to you Krissie.

Matt: Awesome.

Chris: And because you said, “Bless him,” we kind of have crowned Johan: Saint Johan around here.

Matt: Ah nice.

Chris: And there’s a meme that we have internally. We probably should share it externally of Saint Johan, so very cool. Punch in the face to you Krissie for sending that in. If you’re returning to the podcast, it may be because we give good tips and suggestions and ideas about internet marketing. If you’d like I don’t know, maybe a PDF of 5 Online Marketing Mistakes That Could Tank Your Business & How to Avoid Them. You can get that by going to eWebResults.com/

Chris & Matt: SEOTip

Chris: Nice and easy. If you have not listened to the podcast before: howdy, welcome to the podcast. This is called the potatoes of the podcast. We’ll get into the meat here shortly. Again if you’ve listened before, you know we run a contest each and every week.

Matt: We do.

Chris: And this week the contest is a winner! You guys are all winners! The ways it works is if we get 10 shikos–

Matt: A share, a like and a follow.

Chris: If we get 10 shikos on any one of our platforms or profiles on platforms, and we get a review, then we move the place where we tell you how to leave us a review to the end.

Matt: Oh, we’re gonna get Pinterest going, so we’ll get a repin.

Chris: Get a repin. So we’re gonna count repins here soon too. I think it’s a great idea. So we did that. So we’re gonna skip it. I’m gonna give you a teaser. We’re actually covering today an article by Roger Montti and it’s Anchor Text Best Practices For Google. Pretty interesting article where he kind of reached out to some other experts including himself, and got some opinions about anchor text. So we talk about keyword-rich anchor text and making sure that you’re not spamming your anchor text. That’s for links coming back to your site.

Matt: Everybody’s got an opinion about this.

Chris: We’re gonna jump in and we’ll give our 2cents as well. By the way, speaking of Mr. Roger Montti, if you are in a position right now and you can tweet, we would like you tweet– make sure you tag us in it #SEOPodcast, @BestSEOPodcast, @eWebResults, and then @MartiniBuster, right? So Roger Montti has gone by the Twitter handle of @MartiniBuster. Make sure you include him, tell him that you’re listening to his article, Anchor Text Best Practices For Google. And we’ll appreciate that, that’ll be very kind of you. So thank you.

Matt: Thank you.

Chris: Next! If you would like a free website analysis– by the way you just heard Krissie was very enthusiastically complimentary of our free website analysis. Go to eWebResults.com and you’ll find the Free Web Analysis button there. News! So we had some sad news here in Houston, really across the country. And more specifically here in Houston. Barbara Bush passed away this week on April 17th. The public viewing is in Houston and open to the public I think for a couple of days now.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: So, anyway our thoughts and prayers with the Bush family. And then The Verge reports that Google will be abandoning it’s most recent messaging app called Google Allo.

Matt: I hadn’t even heard of this one.

Chris: Did you even–? Exactly.

Matt: I didn’t even know it existed.

Chris: It’s been out like a year and a half and they’re pulling the plug on it. So no one’s really surprised ‘cause you know, you haven’t heard of it. So that is the deal. Alright that is potatoes of the podcast, let’s get into the meat. Again, Anchor Text Best Practices For Google. Anchor text is the text used in the links to your site. It used to be that if you acquired enough links with the appropriate keywords in the anchor text, that your site would begin to rank for those keywords. Make sense, right?

Matt: Yeah, yeah.

Chris: But at some point websites experience penalizations for having statistically unnatural ratios of anchor text links.

Matt: Why’s that?

Chris: Google caught on. I think it’s all Matt Cutts. It’s all because of Matt Cutts. “What is the best practice for the use of anchor text today?” Is what we’re gonna dive into. So that’s the gist of the article.

Matt: Alright, cool.

Chris: “Some believe that the search engine results pages,” also known as SERPs, “can be studied and the best anchor text ratios is for each niche can be discovered.” And so Roger’s gonna kinda go into some details why– that’s not true actually. That you can’t just look at the website that’s are placing really well.

Bullshit detected! Take precautions. So if people are out there saying, “Oh, the ratio is 33.45%,” there’s a lot of challenges with that. So one of the big challenges is like, you have a causal relationship and a casual–? There’s another. Causal versus something else, statistical really.

Matt: Casual relationship.

Chris: It’s not casual. It’s a casual relationship.

Matt: You have a casual relationship with those links.

Chris: That was before we were married. We don’t have casual relationships anymore. It’s a causal relationship and then just like a corollary relationship, which means it happens to go along with, right? And so I can give lots of examples. What he says– so you may look at, okay these websites have really good placements. And then you may go look at all of the links that are linking to them, and the anchor text associated with those links, and then come up with a ration. The problem with that it’s not that those sites necessarily are in those positions on the SERP because of that anchor text. It’s all of these other factors. And so you really– he’s just gonna argue that you’re spitting into the wind, kind of thing.

So ranking impact, not related to links. So there’s four ranking impacts he says that are not related to links.

Matt: Okay.

Chris: A poor user experience. So you got too many ads, you too many ads, you got poor web speed. You got mobile friendliness. So let’s say there is an ideal anchor text ration – and there probably is. It’s whether we can figure it out, right?

Matt: [00:08:00] [Pearl Industry]

Chris: And then maybe related to [00:08:02] [Pearl Industry] right? If you could discover that and apply it to your particular website with a lot of link volume, right? So a lot of backlinks, but our website speed sucked, or your mobile friendliness sucked, or you had too many ads on your page, then it wouldn’t matter. And so if you’re trying to reverse engineer into this, you’re just probably not gonna get there. Next is, some sites are popular and users expect to see those sites when they do a search right? So it’s just what people expect. And we talk about this at our office about the– it’s called brand lift, right? Just ‘cause you have a good brand and that brand is well represented in a number of places, not just in the online environment, you’ll actually end up being on a better position on the SERPs. And that would have nothing to do with your anchor text potentially.

“Some sites are ranked at the top because of the their geographic location.” So there’s variability in geographic location. So you may have this site that is related to I don’t know, say internet marketing and because it’s– and it may have the perfect anchor text ration, and they may no place well because they’re not in Houston, something like that.

Matt: Yeah, yeah.

Chris: And then he says, “Because the user intent demands a result that provides a comparison of various product providers.” So again, this goes back to the user’s driving things. So have you heard of the modification engine?

Matt: No.

Chris: No? Okay. So I haven’t really heard of it, we talk about it, right? We talk about it regularly. In fact in a meeting we had yesterday with Moe, we were talking about how great, you got these search results, and now based on who clicks where, right? And how long they stay there or maybe they stay there and then they come back. That Google might bump somebody up because it seems that that user had a better experience on that particular website.

Matt: That’s the modification?

Chris: That’s what he’s talking about right? So check this out.

Matt: So like how much time on page? How many–? The different pages they look at.

Chris: Well, potentially.

Matt: All the data, that’s the modification?

Chris: Potentially. So when a site is ranked, right? That’s the Core Algorithm or the Ranking Engine.

Matt: Yeah, Ranking Engine.

Chris: And then he says, the Modification Engine plays a large role in re-ranking the SERP. So let’s say we start naked, no users have seen any of the SERPs. And then boom, based on the crawl that Google has done and their algorithm, they’re gonna show this result, right? And it’s a kind of fixed results. And now users start visiting it, and Google starts adjusting the results right? So there are studies that we’ve talked about on this podcast where people with a big falling will be like, “Hey go search this. I’m on the second page in position 12, and click my link.” And they do that and it comes up.

Matt: Okay.

Chris: That’s clearly modified from the original SERP ‘cause–

Matt: Well Google takes– I’ve seen like the same day, they’ll rotate. Like they’ll see, is this getting more clicks, or more time on page, or more goal completions? And they’ll rotate when you launch something new, or if you modify an old page, it’ll do the same thing. That’s why I like updating all pages. You get come initial lift.

Chris: Right, right.

Matt: Right? To see how well it does with the new stuff. I didn’t know that they– I thought that was just kind of part of all of what Google’s doing. I guess it’s broken in–

Chris: It’s kind of a second tier piece of it.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: So it has a parallel in Facebook, right? So Facebook will say, “Hey, you’ve got a new post on your business page.” And this is probably significantly decreased, but I’m gonna take that post on your new business page and show it to just 5% of your audience. And if that 5% of your audience interacts with it, I’m gonna show it to all of your audience.

Matt: So it’s just another algorithm.

Chris: Right, right.

Matt: Yeah, okay.

Chris: So he actually says that there’s a patent that Google has that’s founded around modifying search result ranking based on implicit user feedback and a model of presentation bias. And so some of it, like, is this result Google? There’s a question in there, like do you like this result. You know people answering no is not part of the algorithm, it’s part of this kind of modification.

Matt: Don’t show me these types of ads!

Chris: Yeah, yeah. He says, “Then logically, this means that any anchor text ratios you extract,” right? From doing this analysis of good position, “are meaningless since other factors influenced why a page is ranked.” I would argue Bullshit on that one. Yeah.

DEFCON 5 Bullshit. They’re not meaningless, right? They have less value, then you’re like, “Hey, this is the reason.” There’s certainly some relevance to them.

There’s 200 ranking factors. Great, we understand it. And the algorithms are larger than just anchor text. Great.

Matt: You know what one of the biggest ranking factors is?

Chris: I don’t.

Matt: Google+.

Chris: Google+. Oh, that’s right–

Matt: That’s right above backlinks, right?

Chris: Yup.

Matt: So just work on your Google+, don’t worry about backlinks anymore. No, just kidding.

Chris: Now when you say Google+, is that Google My Business or is that Google+?

Matt: No, Google+. Okay, so like really the authorship, the authorship update has really started to affect a lot of this stuff. And I talk about a lot of–

Chris: Which came and then came way into favor and then fell out of favor.

Matt: But it’s–

Chris: It’s still sticking around.

Matt: Well, I mean social’s the new SEO kind of thing.

Chris: Hey, Brian Lobig. Punch in the face to you. We wanna give a shout-out– excuse me, a punch in the face to all of the YouTubers out there too, eWeb YouTubers. Punch in the face Ryan, we got a– yeah. He gave us a great review in an article on his page. So really appreciate that. So what Roger did now is he went out an queried some experts in the industry. One of them is Julie Joyce, she’s with LinkFishMedia, right?

Matt: Yeah, they’re good.

Chris: And she says– her thing was, “A site that has 75% exact match anchors.” So again, that’s other sites that link back, so backlinks into your website. And then the text that is associated with those backlinks, that text is an exact match for our keyword, right?

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: So if all of them are the exact same, then it feels like you’re out there manipulating. So she says– yeah?

Matt: No, keep going.

Chris: So she says that if there’s a 75% of our exact match is gonna look unnatural.

Matt: For sure.

Chris: She also says that, “Even though I know it’s naughty there is the odd occasion when I overdo it and it works but it doesn’t stick. So I think other factors have become more important for ranking.” Now, interesting, just along the lines of the conversation we’re just having, if you get these exact match rankings and they work, but there’s no engagement on the page that you were able to get to the first page, that could explain why they’re not sticking.

Matt: Sure, sure, sure.

Chris: Just an interesting thing.

Matt: I mean like I would say when you’re building out ranks or anchor texts, sorry. People are comment–

Chris: No, I’m just doing– yeah.

Matt: But if you’re building out anchor text, okay?

Chris: Right.

Matt: You gotta create some long-tail phrases. Like don’t like exact match everything it’s really obvious to Google. So you wanna have some naked links for your domain name. Maybe some of your company name, and then some long-tail phrases that maybe include some of those things. Now anytime you include a geo specifically, Google looks even more specifically at that.

Chris: Suspiciously.

Matt: Suspiciously. So you know, you just wanna have a good variety, but yeah, anytime the word they’re searching for or the name of the company that’s in the link, it’s gonna carry more weight.

Chris: Yup, yup. It will be less suspicious.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: Next he asked Bill Slawski, right? He’s with GoFishDigital. Bill Slawski by the way is the preeminent expert on search engine patents according to Roger here. And Bill says, “It is possible that Google could be looking at a window of words around a link associated text for those links.” So that’s saying– so yes, you’ve got this anchor text, right? That’s the text that is part of the link. And then there’s words around that anchor text. And if those words are totally irrelevant, how much impact does that have? So you’ve got another complication. It’s not just, hey is it exact match keywords in the anchor text? It’s also is it exact match keywords in the anchor text? And then the surrounding body of say a paragraph or so is relevant or irrelevant.

Matt: And then if the links on the first paragraph on the page, it has even more weight.

Chris: Right, right.

Matt: Right? So there’s all these little modifiers that you can elevate your link juice.

Chris: Yup, very cool. And again he says it’s still a very important ranking factor. This is by Matt Diggity with Diggity Marketing, or is it Diggity? It’s probably Diggity.

Matt: I like Diggity.

Chris: Matt Diggity with Diggity Marketing. That’s just a cool name, of course I had a cool name like Diggity. He says, “I do indeed feel like I’m not getting the same movement as back-in-the-day from target anchors sent from links, but is that due to anchors getting less weight–”

Matt: Yes.

Chris: “Or the links themselves becoming less of a ranking factor in the grand scheme?”

Matt: Yes.

Chris: Yeah. Well the links are still pretty damn important, but less than before, for sure.

Matt: Well no, they’re pretty important but they’re a little bit less, but every little thing that you do impacts it. And so I mean even still having a domain with the word that people are searching, that’s still really effective.

Chris: Right, right.

Matt: Like because if they’re searching for that, you’re gonna come up like on the first page. ‘Cause they’re typing in what you’re searching. And I see a lot of companies doing that and there’s games you can play, but it still works even though it’s not weighted as high.

Chris: It’s still an absolutely important factor. We say it’s still 40%. So really Roger wraps this up, there’s no consistent on the best way to use anchor text, even Bill Slawski points out that the surrounding tech is important to supplement that anchor text. Julie Joyce agrees that there’s a mix of. anchor plus surrounding text. But there’s really no consensus. And I’ll tell you when I got this article, I really didn’t kind of read through the entire thing. I kind of glanced at it. And I was hoping that it would have some sort of ratios. Like what should those ratios be?

Matt: I love that, yeah.

Chris: And there were no ratios. There’s not ratios by either Roger, or Julie, or Bill, or Matt.

Matt: Sounds like there should be an infographic out there.

Chris: Yeah, and the infographics– I mean if all you can do is the best you can guess, right? So we’ve got experience doing it, we have a sense of what feels natural. Then you know, let’s put a number on it.

Matt: Well I mean, I was to put a number on it I would just– you know, I would say have a few outbound links to high authority sites.

Chris: From your site. Outbound, yeah.

Matt: From your site and then have internal links, and you know, 5 to 7. Typically I would say, 2 to 3 outbound links. And then you know, just mix it up based on what you’re talking about: internal links. And I think if you keep that ratio and just make it natural and not worry so much about that– now I think anchor text when you’re doing off-page stuff, that’s more where it becomes more of a debate, you know?

Chris: Right, right.

Matt: But again it is a user experience that someone’s gonna like and engage with you, and you gotta make ways for them to engage with you. There’s some little tips and tricks on how to do that. We should probably make a little–

Chris: Infographic about that.

Matt: Infographic or downloadable, like lead magnet about that. But really you just gotta be doing it, right?

Chris: Yeah. Step 1: make sure you are doing link-building. If you’re doing that, you’re probably ahead of the game for many.

Matt: Well and on the anchor text just mix it up but make sure you’re doing it and not have a consistent– like everything’s like the domain name or the name of the company, because it doesn’t look natural. So you just be natural when you do it, right?

Chris: So you said, you’ve got anchor text as one, so just the keyword anchor text. You’ve got long-tail?

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: And so long-tail you could have a really good mix of that, right? Because it’s easy to make lots of long-tail from some base anchor text phrase.

Matt: Yeah, oh yeah.

Chris: Then you’ve got, a naked– did I–?

Matt: A naked.

Chris: A naked.

Matt: The name of the company.

Chris: Name of the company.

Matt: And then like maybe 4 or 5 different kind of long-tail phrase. I wouldn’t go after exact match phrases. If you do that, just maybe one time or two times, yeah.

Chris: Well yeah, if you’re only gonna do one link, exact match okay.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: So go for the exact match. But I would say we’ve got a pretty good things, right? So we got anchor text, we got long-tail – which included anchor text – we’ve got naked, and then we’ve got the company name, right?

Matt: Yeah, yeah.

Chris: You could even put an author name, but if we just go with those four, I would say I think a 25% ratio is probably reasonable.

Matt: And you could throw some locations into some of those, but change up the location, like “Houston, Texas,” and then “Houston TX,” and then– like so mix it up, you know?

Chris: Yeah, and that would be part of the twenty–

Matt: Yeah, yeah, but just be careful. Because Google, if you’re doing anything off-page, Google’s gonna look at that big time.

Chris: So my number is 25%. Like 25% raw anchor text, 25% some longer tail, 25% naked URL and 25 company. And if you’re in that range, right? Because I agree with Roger, you can’t know but a lot of times people are reaching– trying to talk– reach out to experts like us and like, “Okay, I know you can’t know, but–” and Julie actually mentioned 75% obviously way too off. So 25%, that’s my number.

Matt: Well everybody’s trying to like hit an exact number.

Chris: Wait, hold on a second. 25% that’s my number!

Matt: We’ll call it a day.

Chris: I had to throw the piece of paper. What were you gonna say?

Matt: No, I’m done.

Chris: Okay, that’s the

Matt: That’s it, drop mic.

Chris: Alright. Well, punch in the face to you Roger, it’s a great article, great that you reached out to experts in the industry. And yeah, there’s no consensus and my number’s 25%. And it’s as good as any number ‘cause no number was given.

Matt: Exactly? Exactly 25%?

Chris: Exactly 25.25% for each. Wait, that’s more than 100%. So that’s not gonna work.

Matt: So 24 times 7.

Chris: 24.8. Okay, we’ll do 24.8 and then that last little bit, use my name. Just use my name on whatever is left over. Alright so that was the meat of our podcast. We’re ready to wrap up. So hey, if you liked this podcast, we ask you to please tell 3 friends about the podcast. That’s 3 friends who may be business owners, it’s 3 friends who may be in the industry. Just share it with 3 friends.

Matt: Share it in 3 Facebook groups.

Chris: There you go. 3 different Facebook groups, I like that. And if that’s– you’re not gonna share, okay kick in the shins to you. But if you’re interested in growing your business with the largest, simplest marketing tool on the planet–

Matt: You’re on the internet right now.

Chris: You’re on the internet right now. That is the tool. Call eWebResults for increased revenue in your business. Our phone number is 713-592-6724. If you have a referral, that’s somebody who’s interested in any aspect of internet marketing. Yes we do websites, yes we do landing pages, yes we do PPC, yes we do–

Matt: And if you’re a web designer and you don’t do internet marketing, refer them to us after you build the website.

Chris: That’s genius! Like you could continue to make revenue on clients for whom you’ve made a wonderful website in perpetuity, ‘cause our clients stay with us. We’ve got clients who’ve been with us for like 52 months. So think about that, 52 months of additional revenue after you finish the website.

Matt: We’ll work something out.

Chris: And we’ll be happy actually in that case. We would be very happy ‘cause you know, after about 52 months, it might be time to redesign – maybe even sooner – to send them back to you. Right? Because it’s the right thing to do. So if you do have a referral, you send them to us, when they pay their bill, we pay you.

Matt: Boom.

Chris: That works really, really simply. We were filmed live here at 5999, West 34th Street, Suite 106.

Chris & Matt: Houston, Texas.

Chris: 77092. If you want a transcript, video or audio of this podcast, you can get it at our website eWebResults.com. We are the most popular internet– oh. Oh.

Matt: Oh.

Chris: We would like you to leave us a review. We have actually saved this to the very, very end of the podcast.

Matt: You thought we were going, but we’re not.

Chris: Leave us a review– Trustpilot is where we’re still at?

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: eWebResults.com/

Matt: Trust

Chris: Will get you there, and go ahead and leave us a 5-star review please. Also if you could get onto our profiles on these platforms and shiko us, we would appreciate it. Those locations are like Facebook.com/

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Matt: eWebResults

Chris: And to get to our YouTube page, go to eWebResults.com/

Matt: YouTube

Chris: And that’ll take you to all those pages.

Matt: So why is the last one different?

Chris: So we have an interesting history with YouTube. Apparently some YouTube recently got dropped, disappeared. Like one of our channel–

Matt: Oh, our channel. Yeah, our internal channel, our training channel got dropped.

Chris: Internal Training Channel, the videos are gone. Just gone. And then in the past, yeah we had the name YouTube.com/eWebResults. Turns out that we were dropping it to try and shift it somewhere else and didn’t kind of confirm that you can do that ‘cause you can’t. So it’s just gone, nobody has eWebResults right now, maybe they’ll bring it back at some point.

Matt: We need 100 thousand visitors and they’ll talk to us.

Chris: Oh and then they’ll talk to us. So we need subscribers or visitors, or a little bit of both or whatever? Whatever, if you watch it.

Matt: We’re gonna start working YouTube. Like we’re gonna have a YouTube TV channel.

Chris: Yeah.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: Excited about that. Coming soon.

Matt: Yeah, coming soon.

Chris: It’s gonna be like The O Network.

Matt: Okay.

Chris: Except smaller.

Matt: I was like thinking it’s like whiteboard Fridays, but The O Network works.

Chris: You gotta shoot big! Alright, hey you guys have made us the most popular internet marketing podcast on iTunes. We really appreciate you, thank you guys for tuning in. Thank you gals for tuning in. Here in the US and Canada, Mexico, UK, Australia, New Zealand, all over the place. Punch in the face to our new client in Australia.

Chris & Matt: Boom!

Chris: Glass100, excited about getting started on that campaign. Thank you guys. If you have questions, go ahead and email those questions to us. podcast@

Matt: eWebResults

Chris: .com. Perfect. Until the next podcast, my name is Chris Burres.

Matt: Matt Bertram.

Chris & Matt: Bye bye for now.

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