I’m Eugenia, the SEO / PPC Implementation Specialist at Delta Growth. You could say that I’m a little new to the wonderful world of digital marketing. 🙂
So I wanted to reach out to some of the industry leaders and ask them this simple question:
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice on Paid Search or SEO, what would it be and how would it have helped you in your career?
First off, I was absolutely blown away by the quality of responses I’ve received, and the sheer amount of people that were willing to share their wisdom.
Secondly, I wanted to sincerely thank all of the people that participated. It means a lot to me to get advice from both renowned experts and emerging industry leaders alike, and I’m proud to finally be able to share this post 🙂
Here’s what you had to say:
In terms of paid search, always keep your headlines and subheadings benefit driven. You often won’t get much space for text when running PPC ads, so make good use of the limited characters of text you are given. Features tell, benefits sell.
From an SEO perspective, never try to “game” the system and cheat the search engines. Google has a whole team that crack down on improper ranking techniques and even if you are using an unethical one that works now, it will soon be discovered and stomped out. Instead, focus on providing value and solutions to the reader instead of trying to impress the search engine. You are writing to a human, not a robot.
That’s easy! For a very long time, I insisted on going after the most competitive keywords in my niche. Naturally, I wasn’t getting the maximum search traffic I could. The bigger names in my niche were ranking for those keywords.
Only recently, I was able to make a shift.
Now, I go after less competitive keywords If needed, At times, I also craft my content around low competition keywords. I also continue to try for long-tailed keywords whereas before that was a priority for me.
Early in my career, I did not realize how your value, authority, and success need to viewed as a journey. Very few people become overnight sensations. For most of us, we make steady progress once our career begins.
And, for most of us, at some point, we plateau. How this relates to SEO or PPC is this: Learn one area and become an expert on it. Establish yourself as knowing one aspect of it very, very well. Then, when you’re ready, work on adding a second area of expertise, and get to the point where you are recognized as an expert on that. Keep expanding on those things over time.
While doing this, don’t lose sight of the initial areas where you developed expertise (unless they’ve become unimportant). Keep them developing and strengthening all along the way. This process of continuous growth is something I do routinely today, and I wish I’d approached it this way from the very beginning. Both SEO and PPC are very complex areas, so people will really value you for each piece where you really know your stuff!
Invest more time in the things that are important to me vs just in my clients sites. I worked extra each month for my clients, which eventually all will leave. What will stick with you is your own brand and assets. Build those and invest as much resources in those as you would your client’s sites.
If I could go back in time and give myself some SEO advice, I’d tell myself two things: (1) that on-page optimization isn’t enough, and (2) you need to choose the keywords you want to rank for in advance. Here’s how these two pieces of advice would have helped me…
First, I wouldn’t have diluted my authority by trying to rank for several areas of interest at once. When you focus solely on ranking individual pages, you don’t realize you’re sending mixed signals on what your site is about. I would have tightly focused my site around one topic. Every page would have related to that one head term. And search engines would never have wondered what my site was about. (Truth: if you try to rank for multiple topics, you won’t likely rank for anything.)
Second, I would have understood that SEO doesn’t happen by accident, so I would have been more strategic. I’d have created a list of the long-tail keywords I wanted to rank for—each of them relating to the head term I want to become an authority for. Then I would have developed one (JUST ONE) authoritative page for each keyword.
With just those two pieces of advice, I’d have ranked better and faster, probably with less work.
The best advice I would give to the younger me would be to make upper funnel (awareness phase of the buyer’s journey) content the biggest priority. If I had, my site would have thousands of links from free tools, guides, and checklists by now, and my remarketing strategy would be crushing it right now.
So many business owners obsess over the bottom line and watch their competitors pass them in traffic, keyword rankings and off-page brand awareness over time; when a simple, once-per-week content marketing campaign was all that required to sustain and grow.
I think that it would’ve been not to just focus on either SEO or PPC. I literally focused on SEO in my early days and knowing what I know now, I wish that I just opened my mind with PPC. Sure, it’ll cost me but it would help me understand things earlier and I would have seen the potential while the competition was really not that into it yet. …
That would’ve at least tripled the sales/leads that I got starting out. SEO is great but having traffic generators across multiple channels would be better.
Super interesting question. And not an easy one to answer. Probably the best way to answer is to recap some of the things that I think have helped and some areas where over time, I realised, I was not so strong.
I studied computer science at university. And graduated around 2000. I started working as a web and software developer shortly afterwards. So, I was pretty technical. I had also built websites for fun and promoted a video gaming event whilst studying. I did this simply by tapping into the community around the game that we all played. So, I started working in the web industry and had a good technical background.
My job was to build e-commerce sites and order processing systems for a group of companies. As these various sites and systems launched the question soon became – we have these sites, but how do we get more business? This quickly led me into the world of SEO and PPC. Being a developer I naturally gravitated to the technical side of SEO. And, SEO circa 2000 was a very different beast. Spam was everywhere. It was so easy to get things to rank and index. Fortunately, I became aware of a few folks flying the white hat banner, mainly Jill Whalen, (SEO)Moz and a forum ran by a guy called Doug Heil. This, along with seeing how Google started trying to tackle spam with various quality updates over the years gave me a great perspective.
But, I was very technical. This meant that I spent a lot of time on technical endeavours like SEO Audits. And a lot of my work led me to look for technical answers to SEO questions. However, I was not, and I can see this now, much of a marketer. Though if I go back further I had various little jobs and businesses when I was young. I did paper rounds, worked in shops, and worked for a couple of entrepreneurs on various projects. I sold everything from fruit and vegetables to garden furniture. And there was a lot of guerilla-style marketing going on that I was being exposed to. Even if that was putting up signs on lampposts on busy roads to direct people to whatever we were hawking. Over time – this all fed in as the digital penny dropped and I better understood how everything fit together.
So, what I have really focused on the last ten years or so of my career is getting the marketing piece in place. Making sure that everything we do for ourselves and for our clients is built on a good marketing foundation. I am not a classically trained marketer but I have read pretty much every classic marketing book out there. New and old. I particularly like the older ones. Guerilla Marketing was one of the first books that really opened my eyes. And as I started to work with PPC more it was easy to see that often appearing highly and getting clicks is not enough. Everything has to be lined up to deliver results. A clients goal is rarely to just rank highly. People want to rank highly so it drives more business transactions. And to do that we need to see a solid alignment of marketing smarts and digital tactics.
So, if I could hop in a time machine and visit myself at the beginning of my career – my advice would be to really dig into marketing. Make sure that I understand how everything fits together. How SEO and PPC are great for awareness. But we have to engage to drive conversions. We have to understand the customer’s requirements. And we have to demonstrate how we will help the customer alleviate their pains and achieve their goals. I strive to be a great marketer that really knows how to leverage digital. Not a geek that just understands how these channels work. I would probably give myself a stack of marketing books and Guerilla Marketing would certainly be on the top of that stack.
At Bowler Hat, we always aim to have a very marketing led approach to SEO and PPC. We want to understand how these channels fit into overall approach. And allow us to deliver on your marketing strategy. And in many cases, we help our customers define and build their strategy and then determine which tactical channels are the best fit for their objectives.
I am still learning. I can’t see that stopping anytime soon. But we believe that our marketing first approach to SEO and PPC gives us a real USP and helps us do better work for our clients – which is all that really matters.
I wish that baby me figured out sooner that SEO had a lot of complementary fields around it. I could have been so much more effective if I could easily pivot between SEO tactics, PPC tactics, Conversion Rate Optimization tactics, email marketing and nurture tactics, or whatever worked well for the client at the moment.
I knew right away that the bottom line was an increase in profit 99% of the time, but I always felt constrained by the agencies that I worked through. I always felt like I had to make decisions based on the nature of the initial agreement with the client, and the agencies would want to throw in CRO or Marketing Automation as an up-sell rather than a pivot… which makes sense for an agency, but not necessarily for the client.
I realize this is a +1, but the last piece is that I wish I knew what SEO looked like over the course of a lifetime for a business. It’s really not that complex in principle. Finish the urgent Technical SEO pieces (indexation and critical tagging), ensure you’ve got your most valuable Bottom of Funnel pages (NOT your blog!), and build up competitive Authority.
Over time you tick off the less urgent but frequently exciting Technical SEO pieces (Schema Markup etc.), invest more of your time into Authority building (Influencer Marketing & Digital PR), and move up-funnel with your content (Bottom of Funnel -> Top of Funnel), building up Middle of Funnel conversion opportunities and calls to action as needed along the way.
Going back in time there aren’t any big SEO or paid search things I would have liked to know then. Probably the biggest one is don’t believe everything you read on SEO (not even from the big blogs / media outlets). Implementing and testing is where you learn. …
And share your learnings with real digital marketing friends, they will appreciate and might be able to help you out another moment, when you need it. Anyways I love sharing and helping, it brought me real friendships and quite a few clients. This is what I love about being in this industry. So learn, hypothesise, implement, win and share. Good luck.
… thankfully I work for one of the most well-known names in technical SEO! I’ve dabbled with building a couple of personal websites, but would love to experiment and test more, with a bigger project like an ecommerce drop shipping site perhaps. In my opinion there is no substitute for learning in this way, by getting your hands dirty in building and constructing a website, to learn how to get it ranking.
In the beginning of my career, I took an SEO job with a company that didn’t need backlinks at the time. Because of their name and products, the company already had a huge amount of organically earned links. I grew my skillset only with the needs of this particular company. …
Upon leaving the company and moving into another job, I realized I was sorely out of date on the link building front. So, my best bit of advice: Study the areas you may not be practicing in your day to day, because it’s important to know the other aspects of the industry. You never know when you’ll be going against what you don’t know, or trying to move into a position where your gap could be an issue. In regards to SEO, whether you’re a black or white hat SEO, learn the other side so you can be better prepared for what you see on the battlefield!
If I could go back in time and give myself a piece of advice on SEO, it’d be to be more strategic about creating new content on a regular basis. Sites with dynamic content perform significantly better in search results than sites with static content, which is why blog sites and directories like Wikipedia always rank highly. …
I always recommend for businesses to add a blog to their site if they don’t have one already as it’s the perfect way to both provide value to your audience as well as benefit your SEO presence.
I’d advise myself to focus on the customer, not the algorithms. In my early years I was too focused on trying to get sites to rank that we sacrificed gaining the customer. Of course, almost everyone did the same back in the early days and we quickly figured out that customers matter more, …
… but this bit of advice would have given me that much more of a head start in delivering marketing services that truly matters.
Find out where the best SEOs / Paid Search specialists work – and go work for them. I spent 2 years failing as a freelancer in a small city. It was only by sheer luck that I started reading the “right” SEO information from folks like Moz, Distilled & Search Engine Land. But even then, I didn’t really know how to really do SEO / paid search well.
Additionally, I didn’t have the platform to test new ideas & tactics. I did my best to work on small sites – but I was never sure of my processes, skills or methods. After failing for 2 years, I went to work for a top-flight agency in a big metro area and worked with one of the best SEOs in the industry. I learned more in 1 week than I had in 2 years on my own. And working with large clients, I had many sites that helped accelerate testing of ideas, tactics and methods.
If I could give myself one piece of advice – it would be to make whatever short-term sacrifices to work directly with a top SEO / Paid Search specialist sooner than later.
The tip I would have given myself would have been: Always think bigger! It is easy to compare yourself to your competitors, but then you can only be as good as them. You need to think outside the box and stand out in the crowd and you can’t do that if you are always introducing something that already exists..
From being the first in our industry to add HTML5 videos to our site, to running giant events such as the Bubble Football World Cup, we have revolutionised our approach to marketing and it has paid huge dividends.
The biggest piece of advice I’d give to those new to paid search is don’t be afraid to approach industry experts and thought leaders. The people in this industry are so open and giving – nearly everyone is willing to help and share. When I first started in search, I was intimidated by those who were writing books and publishing on major SEM sites. I shouldn’t have been. ..
These people are now among my closest friends. Get out there. Establish a social media presence, either on Facebook or Twitter, and ask questions!
As I started out programming and then transitioned to SEO, I would have advised myself to continue to advance with my coding on my off time. I can still make sense of code and identify problems with it but as I stopped being entrenched in it, I would have to take a lot of time if I were to try and develop any tools or flesh out any programs that I could use for my link builders. …
Coding is such a great skill and I hate that I stopped focusing on it when my job changed. I guess that advice can translate into anything else…basically keep your early skills fresh even when you advance.
I would tell myself that you need to take your website security process and updates very seriously. The utility of WordPress being so broadly used and accepted as the most open and adaptable content management platform due to it’s plugins will naturally lead to it also being the most vulnerable when it comes to security.
My tip: Whatever content can be repurposed, should be. Are you testing out a new marketing strategy for your company? Record the results and turn it into a PDF case study that you use for lead generation. Turn it into a blog post and earn links/social shares while building your website authority. Split up the pages into a slideshow and promote it on slide sharing sites or use it at a speaking event.
Add transitions to the slides and make it into a video. Customers respond to different mediums and channels – be everywhere. It’s much more difficult to create new useful content than to repurpose it so be sure to squeeze the most out of what you have.
I would have spent more time diving into the technical elements of Google Analytics (and other attribution and reporting platforms) that scared me at first. The idea of creating custom segments with multiple dependencies made me nervous and so I shied away from it, which has since become a major strength. Same goes for other technical processes that seem daunting until you have your head really wrapped round but then can provide tremendous value like log file analysis, topic modeling, and then boiling it all down into truly useful seo case studies.
Test, test, test. What works for a huge brand name, big time blogger/seo won’t necessarily work for you. Your site is a blank canvas when you start, so you are able to make more accurate conclusions from your data and seo strategies earlier on, then refine them as you go along. If you start testing further into your journey then there are a lot more moving parts and variables, so much harder to pinpoint exactly what has worked and how well.
Also build up your contacts and network well before you go on-line. These early contacts can give you some vital early links to get your site’s visibility and keywords on the up from day dot.
Do for your own websites what you recommend to your clients. Don’t be telling your clients to add schema.org markup to their sites, and not have done it on yours. Don’t tell them to go https and leave your site on http. Fix your broken links. Submit an XML sitemap, and periodically look at what’s getting indexed. Do a fetch-and-render as Googlebot in Search Console. Etc.
Not only is it hard on your credibility when they go to your website and see you haven’t done the things that you’ve told them to do on theirs, but by actually going through and fixing the things on your own site, you’ll learn a bunch about what’s easy and what doesn’t quite work as advertised.
Spend more time experimenting and testing out new ideas. Often in SEO and Paid Search, we let the industry leaders tell us what is important and what is exciting. Most of us start our search careers recycling the industry thought leadership. The sooner you break that habit of borrowing knowledge and learn things on your own the better. …
Go experiment early and often. The lessons learned from those will accelerate your learning curve.
As I spent most of my career as an SEO and Link Builder, one of the greatest pieces of advice I would give to myself would be: “quality over quantity… period.”
Like many others, I jumped into this field and learn things by doing it….
I was in the era where link building was all about article submissions and directory submissions, form postings blog commenting and similar.
I mean this sounds crazy today, but back in the days, it used to work (sad but true). If I had to give one advice, I will ask myself to stop focusing on the number of links I have built and start focusing on the quality for links I can build for my clients. This is mainly because of 2 reasons:
1. It saves time: doing all directories and articles and other stuff can take hours of your time and do little to no help when it comes to ranking and targeting the right persona. But if you focus on quality you can outrank spammers in no time and not only get organic traffic but get referral traffic from your links at the same time.
2. It’s long-term. Articles, blog comments, forums postings they use to work back in the days but when panda and penguin rollout, all of these websites, witness a huge drop in rankings. But if you focus on right kind of link building, if you focus on quality only, these pandas and penguins would have helped you rank better and increase your website’s visibility in front of the target audience.
This is my advice to any link builder today! “Quality over Quantity… period.
I wish I could go back and whisper these words in my ear, that Saturday afternoon in 2007 when I started blogging…
Dig in and go deep. …
… Write a long, detailed how-to article once a week. Make a video showing a complex step-by-step process once a month. Pitch articles to other blogs regularly. And start a conversation on social media once a day. You’ll be glad you did!
I gradually moved up to those levels but it was years later. Had I gone big on quality and frequency earlier, I’d have dominated my topics in search and I’d have a much larger platform now. I could have monetized that audience in many possible ways. I’d be huge. But hey, no regrets! And it’s never to late to go big.
If I could go back in time, I’d start a lot more independent websites in many more niches purely for experimentation purposes. A basic tenet of the scientific method, the more you test at the same time, the less you actually learn. So, what I’d do is go back and test out simplistic, individual strategies for each website to see what works best over a sustained period of time specifically for SEO. Although in practice you’d want to test many different strategies on the same site, over the years I’ve learned the rules of SEO are the same, but the degree to which they are enforced greatly differs. The factors which are involved there are level of competition, market niche, historical data (vs. a new website), and more.
One of the top rules I always followed in SEO is to keep ahead of the game. So many people would urge me to do something (usually link-building) because it has always worked before. But I recognized early that as soon as a tactic became well known, and especially when people figured out how to scale it…
… that tactic would affect the SERPs enough that Google had to act against it. So I would abandon a technique as soon as I saw everybody talking about it.
That strategy worked really well for a number of years.
Then came the fateful day when Google stopped penalizing websites for new links it didn’t like. They started penalizing websites for all links, from the beginning of time, that it didn’t like. Welcome to the Disavow Era.
If I could go back in time, I would have been much more careful about the links I built, that they could never in the future be construed as artificial. Article directories come to mind. Forum posting comes to mind. Yes, I go back a long way. Back then, these were considered by most SEOs good ways to beef up a backlink profile.
The lesson for today: don’t do anything that could ever be construed as artificial.
I recently realized that people in the SEO industry should optimize everything. Aside from it being an apt phrase for the people in the industry, it’s also something that should be done in every business. You can’t be successful in SEO if you do not optimize each and every aspect of it.
It’s also the same for businesses; you can’t be successful in handling a business, more so in the SEO industry if you do not optimize everything. This is why in SEO Hacker, my team and I ultimately optimize our time, efforts, and every little thing to give our clients the best possible results.
This is something that I wish I knew when I was just starting out in the SEO industry because if I have realized it in the past, then the quality of work and efficiency of SEO Hacker would have been in its best possible state.
Invest time in building a full house publishing firm. I have seen a lot of thin sites profiting so much from advertising opportunities and generating thousands of bucks with low competition. If I had just invested to these sort of sites, I would have earned a lot by now.
I realized, in Search Industry, if your strategy to earn a living is to provide services, it is not gonna make your life easier the way you wanted. There are always updates, new trends and tactics that don’t always remain as is and you need to adapt.
So you are always required to learn and improve but if someone had whispered me the idea of publishing untapped, low competition but high search volume opportunities, I would have retired earlier.
If I could go back in time, I’d definitely tell myself that paid search won’t improve your search rankings. The truth is, paid search and organic search rankings are very different from each other conceptually.
Paid search rankings are determined by the amount you invest in PPC ads and your bid value. …
Organic search rankings are a completely different ballgame altogether. Your web pages are crawled and indexed by search engines. And based on various factors, your content is ranked for user searches.
The benefit of paid search is that it allows you to test various keywords. It also enhances your brand image with your ads appearing on the top of search results. Since it is easier to track and measure paid search campaigns, you can analyze your keyword performance accurately.
This, in turn, can help you determine the best keywords. Optimizing your content for these keywords can help you with better organic search rankings.
If I’d known this sooner, I’d have invested more in paid searches to figure out the best keywords for SEO. That would’ve definitely saved me some time and effort figuring out optimum keyword permutations and combinations for SEO.
Sure, all that technical, cutting-edge SEO stuff is important, but remember that consistently creating high quality content is what wins in the long run. Your keywords will end up in your content naturally, and the high quality work will attract high quality links. It’s a lot of hard work to create great content, but it’s a simple recipe.
The best piece of advice I received is to never sacrifice UX for SEO. Often when making content heavy pages we forget about Information Architecture, reading patterns, next-best-actions, & micro-interactions that keeps the user engaged and provide real value. You can get the user there, but what comes next for them in just as important.
Like most of the SEO’s, I started learning SEO along with Affiliate Marketing. I used to create niche based affiliate sites and hope they rank on Google to get me some traffic and in return earn me some income which didn’t really work.
If I could go back in time and give myself one piece of advice, it would be that SEO is not “Set and Forget”. There needs to be a proper plan and marketing strategy. The plan needs to be executed perfectly. There needs to be ongoing work involved to gain higher rankings and more traffic.
If I could go back in time in my career in SEO, I would have done a few things differently. I think early in my career I saw folks like Wil Reynolds, Bill Slawski, Mike King, Rand Fishkin, Lisa Barone and countless others not just as thought leaders, but rock stars. I wanted so much to be popular like them, smart like them and even “famous” like them. …
… I still read what they write and listen to what they say, but I think it was a mistake to try to emulate what I saw as fame.
If I could go back, I would simply write more, listen more, and speak less. The SEOs that many people like or even admire are just good folks who share and do great things. The old me was fighting for some sort of recognition I didn’t deserve. Oftentimes, I used an opportunity or large platform to convey the wrong message or speak to the wrong audience.
Hopefully, I’ve grown up a bit and recognize that what I do is much more important than what I say. But that’s the other thing I’d say to my younger self: you’re never done learning or growing.
Knowing what I know now, it would have been great to establish myself with the content, knowledge, and expertise of WordPress at a much earlier time. Even with the massive amount of exposure and content I already have out there, it would have been great to start at a much earlier time…
The focus here would be to go after many of the basic and generic search terms associated with WordPress and blogging. Though these types of keywords and search phrases are still attainable today, it would have been much easier to rank and hold these positions if we started much earlier.
If I could go back in time, I’d advise my younger self not to take everything you hear as gospel. SEO is an incredibly dangerous subject matter because anyone can write up a strategy and promote it as the truth. The reality is that none of us work for Google and all we can really do is create and develop best practices that are based on what we know to be true. As such, SEO is a continual work in progress.
For Content Marketing I would tell myself to spend 70% of my time promoting content and 30% creating it.
For SEO I would tell myself that slow, sustained link growth is better than sporadic spikes.
One of the first things I would have done, would have been to register as many generic domain names as I could, then build them out to big authority sites… then funneling them all back to one big authority site for everything relating to blogging and site creation…
It’s easy to say and think now, but some of those domains would have massive value and DA/PA associated with them if the necessary time and effort was put into it.
To write content that is dressed with proper on page SEO. When I began, I just wrote to my heart’s content without optimizing my content either for my audience or for search bots. So, obviously my blog went nowhere…
With the years, I have formulated my own tested and proven list of on page SEO techniques that I religiously follow to get my content the eyeballs it deserves. I’d say myself to write content that solves users problem and write content that satisfies the searcher’s intent. Ultimately, readers will come and go, what will stay forever is your content and it’s intent to help new readers.
Keywords play a vital role in both Paid Search and SEO. Being an SEO novice, I use to focus more on ranking for highly competitive keywords which didn’t yield the desired result.
If I could go back in time…
I would have made use of or bid on long tail keywords which would have helped me garner targeted traffic as well as lower the cost of my Adwords campaign significantly.
Relevant keywords and search terms are the backbones of all Paid Search and SEO campaign. Thus, now when I begin a new SEO or a Paid Campaign, I do a complete keyword research as well as ensure that I create high-quality content in order to improve my site’s click-through-rate, which would invariably boost my site’s organic ranking and traffic.
If I could go back in time and give myself once piece of advice on SEO, it would be…
…to have grown some b*lls and become uncomfortable much sooner!
Long story short. After learning from the best SEO experts in the world, then implementing massive action and getting extraordinary ranking results…
…I should have started to get new clients right away.
But I had self-doubt, and I didn’t want to get uncomfortable.
I basically just wanted to sit in my home office and build a digital SEO empire. WITHOUT having to do a face to face meeting.
How did that work out?
You guessed correct. It didn’t.
Once I started getting uncomfortable and having face to face meetings, I am totally crushing it!
My strategy has been to focus on only one thing!
And I apply this to all the different sides of my business.
What do I mean?
How many position messages do I have?
Only one – I help companies get on first page of Google within 60 days.
What strategies do I use to get leads and clients?
Only one – by building genuine relationships with other people.
How many positioning messages do I have for my company?
Only one – I never compete on price. Healthy companies choose my services when they want the absolutely best SEO service.
You might be thinking, “Tor, that is cool and all that, but does focusing on one thing ACTUALLY work?”
A great question, indeed!
Judge for yourself.
I have in less than 16 weeks been able to build the best SEO Agency in Norway.
Aside from investing everything I had in Google when their IPO launched over a decade ago, there is plenty of advice I wish I could have given my past self and I’m sure that trend will continue. But, If I had to narrow it down to one. I would hop in the DeLorean and go back 7 years and tell myself to, “only take on projects where clients were willing to pay for research.”
I failed to realize early in my career, proper keyword and competitive research is everything in SEO and the hours spent on that research should be rightfully compensated. That research provides the basis of immediate and long-term SEO strategies and tactics. That research can give companies guidance towards making millions.
Having that one trip back to 2010 would have allowed me to focus only on quality businesses and it would have saved me loads of time, energy, money and even heartache. I now know, when you charge for research, you weed out the clients you really don’t want. The clients who will elevate my career understand the value of investing in research.
If I could go back in time and make one change to our existing and previous search or SEO methods, I would have to say that we should have focused more time and effort on building high-value courses and guides a lot earlier. This would have made it a lot easier for us to establish ourselves as leaders in the world of online design and logo creation in the search results.
Looking at Google and the search results today, it’s very hard to compete in any space that has big players with massive budgets and ad spends. Looking back, this would have been a great way to not only create content, but to also provide value to our audience and see huge progress through manual outreach and reference links.
After time traveling back, I would tell my younger, dumber and tunnel-visioned self to “always keep your digital marketing career options open”.
Let me unpack this and with a disclaimer that with any “advice”, your results can go either way 😉
You’ll have to take into account your specific personality, abilities and situation.
I was at a leading SEO and SEM agency in Toronto for almost eight years with various senior roles.
The last ten months there, I was desperately looking for a new opportunity and for the last few years there was unhappy with my dismal prospects of financial advancement.
I wish that I took a glance at each prospective role offered, had kept in touch with, and was on friendly terms with every recruiter that reached out. People know people, there is a lot of movement, and it’s a very small world in this industry.
Imagine the number of contacts accumulated after 8 years and the possible new roles that they would have access to!
Imagine the side income possible if I didn’t say “no” to every warm contact that reached out to me for freelance work (which I refused to do at that time).
Imagine the different companies and roles that I could have grown into and each step a financial move forward.
What would this cost in the cracks of time? A little less Netflix and Facebook trolling?
Paid search would have definitely been a major focus of ours had we known how high the costs of PPC would actually get. Jump back a few years, or even a decade, and you could get clicks for a tenth of what they are today. This would have just been good money well spent…
Today it’s not only tougher and more expensive to see CPC results, it’s also more time-consuming as well, with all of the fraudulent and bot traffic going on these days.
And there we have it – advice from 45 (count ‘em – 45!) awesome people who shared their knowledge. Again, thank you to every single person that contributed. Your nuggets of wisdom were incredibly valuable to me, and will definitely be valuable to many other people in digital marketing.