SEO is an industry where we learn from each other’s triumphs and failures.
Rather than repeating the same tests and activities, we use each other to measure the advantages or disadvantages of an activity.
So, as to provide you with some idea of what others in the industry have done or avoided over the years to ensure their success, we’ve decided to list a bunch of quotes from industry experts.
People who have been in the field for years and are highly respected for their contributions. These guys know what they’re doing when it comes to ranking websites and making money.
And we won’t stop there.
We’ll share concrete ideas on how you can apply these quotes in your SEO campaigns.
Then why don’t we dive right in and see what SEO experts have to say about the industry?
Time, at the end of the day, is your number one cost. And it’s the number one benefit you’ll have, especially when you’re starting out.Source
If you’re reading this blog for a long time, then this man needs no introduction.
In any case, he’s the founder and CEO of DFY Links, our online service that helps companies launch link acquisition campaigns.
Charles specializes in gray hat tactics and was once targeted directly by Google because of his reputation. He used that notoriety to build a loyal following.
Charles started his SEO journey at the age of 15. He found success by the age of 17. And like everyone who’s made it, he’s put in a lot of hours to get to where he is today.
But to get there, Charles used to work 21 hours a day. And before long, he passed out and had to be rushed to the hospital. So now, he’s making it a point to limit himself.
Charles works hard to delegate more and more to help free up some time to do things which are more of an investment than something you ‘have to do’.
- Take the time to investigate the latest trends — Charles first earned money after he realized he could make money off of online video games. He did his research and took action based on what he learned.
- Challenge yourself — Push your limits. Charles’ motivation at 13 years old was buying a new Alienware laptop from his YouTube videos. And when he accomplished that goal, he felt pretty good about himself and it drove him to become more successful.
- Go beyond the basics — As Charles puts it, “You see so many people who come straight into the industry and want to go after keywords like ‘weight loss pills’. It’s just not going to happen when you’ve [only] read the Beginner’s Guide to Marketing”. Motivate yourself to learn more.
Traffic is a super vanity metric so the number doesn’t mean anything until you try to monetize it.Source
Tim Soulo is the Chief Marketing Officer of Ahrefs and one of the company’s biggest bloggers. He has contributed to many SEO sites and has published a number of case studies and online marketing guides.
It is commonly thought that the purpose of SEO is to drive traffic to your site from organic search.
As a result, marketers have a tendency to obsess over site traffic. They think it’s the be-all-end-all KPI when it’s not really the case.
But here’s the thing:
Increasing traffic is only the first step in what should be your real goal. And that is increasing your conversion rate.
The more visitors you have on your site, the more chances you have at generating revenue!
What You Should Do
- Don’t focus solely on the traffic — Tim says that one of his mistakes when he launched his first blog, BloggerJet, was that he didn’t have any other goal other than generating traffic.
- Figure out how you’ll make money — If your plan is to generate revenue from blogging, Tim suggests that you work backward. Find out how you’ll make money then come up with a plan.
- Create a product then create content from there — As a follow-up on the second point, if you’re selling something, first create a product, then figure out how to sell it, and then think about what content you can publish that would support the product.
[The] best way to sell something — don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.Source
Rand Fishkin is famous for starting Moz (formerly SEOMoz) before stepping down as its CEO in 2014. He has since started another company called SparkToro, a software company that’s focused on audience and influencer intelligence.
First and foremost, never forget that SEO is, all about developing a relationship with your audience.
You need to be able to connect with people and earn their trust to have some credibility.
Once you have their trust, that’s when you can start sending users down your sales funnel through valuable content.
What You Should Do
- Offer users value — Rand was popular for his Whiteboard Fridays, a weekly video segment at Moz where he talks about SEO tactics. The show is free for anyone to watch. And in these videos, he rarely (if at all) talks about Moz products and services.
- Be knowledgeable — To earn the trust of those around you, you need to know everything about what you’re trying to sell. Do your best to be the smartest person in your industry.
- Focus on branding — Try holding off on monetizing for a while. Instead, put more energy into building a brand. A brand is something people want to be a part of. If your audience feels like you’re only using them to boost sales, they might be turned off and leave you outright.
If you deal with clients, give them traffic rankings and improvements along the way. But keep them at arm’s length so that they don’t need to know the in’s and outs of the strategy.Source
Craig Campbell is a Glasgow-based SEO marketer who has been in business for 17 years. He currently runs an SEO training and consultancy business.
The quote above applies to SEO agencies with clients who want to be handed all the details.
Craig suggests that you give them the numbers but not the technique. Your goal is to get your client’s sites to rank on Google. You have no obligation to share your entire process.
Think about it for a second:
When you buy soda from any company, you don’t expect them to hand over their secret recipe, right? Why should SEO be any different?
Clients are paying you to do a job, not teach them all you know.
Therefore, when dealing with clients who want to know everything, Craig simply offers his training services instead.
What You Should Do
- Educate your clients — And by that, we don’t mean offering your entire strategy. Just enough to get them to move on so you can do your job. Most clients are just looking for reassurance. Give them just enough information to keep them satisfied.
- Upsell clients with training — Like Craig, you can expand your SEO services to include employee training. Some companies want to create their own in-house SEO department but don’t know where to start. That’s why they keep asking questions. You can leverage that fact to earn more money.
- Don’t let clients walk all over you — It’s so easy for SEO startups to give clients everything that’s asked of them. But don’t do it. Once they have your secrets, what would keep them from dropping you as a partner?
If you want to know the encyclopedia, you have to read the encyclopedia.Source
Gael Breton is one of the co-founders of Authority Hacker and serves as the company blog’s editor-in-chief. He is also in charge of the market research and strategic planning of the site.
Gael’s quote may not make a lot of sense on its own. He’s actually making an analogy to competitor research here. In particular, he discusses the process of finding low-competition keywords.
Here’s what he means:
There are no shortcuts in competitor analysis.
There is no Cliff Notes version of your competitor strategy and campaign. You have to manually analyze their sites and determine keywords to use from there.
Again, it’s not easy and may take time gathering all the information to get the right data. But it’s the only way to succeed.
What You Should Do
- Stand out from the competition — Gael’s advice goes beyond keywords. You can say the same thing about almost every aspect of SEO like creating product reviews for example. Here’s what Gael has to say about product reviews that sell.
- Create data to understand the market — Gael has affiliate sites that he now uses to create data. In one case study, Gael used the many email leads he had for Health Ambition to understand how they can be used outside of annoying the site’s subscribers. You can read more about that experiment here.
- Share your work — Authority hacker has tons of case studies and podcast episodes for anyone to dive into. And because they share their work, they have people commenting on their thoughts and suggestions which enables Gael to learn new things. It helps him grow.
Improving isn’t always bigger and better. But it is one way to do it and often is the best way to do it. For example, to be more comprehensive.Source
Creating content isn’t all about going bigger and better. You have to be smart about it too.
For example, your competitor created a list of the top 15 food trucks in Los Angeles. So to fight back, you wrote a piece that’s all about the top 150 food trucks in LA.
But some users might be overwhelmed by such an extensive list. Maybe they’d prefer a more curated list instead of the best of the best.
What You Should Do
- Use a keyword research tool — Find out what kind of content users are looking for. This is also a good idea if you want to determine what keywords are viable in the first place.
- Use a content research tool — Tools like Buzzsumo will tell you what kind of posts are getting shared across social media.
- Look for sites that are linking to your competitors — You can use Moz Pro’s backlink analyzer tool to find sites that are linking to your competition. Then reach out to them about possible promoting your posts.
Rather than focusing on what’s working ‘now’ – it’s better to focus on what will work forever.Source
The UK-based SEO Matthew Woodward is an online blogger that develops SEO strategies for his clients. You can find out more about his business on his website.
Matthew is simply explaining that users are not supposed to bend to the will Google. Instead, see the direction that the company is going and aim to be there first.
Don’t just react to every Google update. Try to get ahead of them.
What You Should Do
- Serve content that intrigues the reader — Matthew suggests that users hook readers with a question. It’s a great idea because users would soon be using questions when they use smartphones for their search queries.
- Create an SEO checklist — You should have a checklist to make sure that all your pages are consistent no matter which strategy you’re headed.
- Be aware of changes in the SERPs — Matthew was able to take advantage of Rich Snippets by studying how Google processes information.
Google’s algorithm is an algorithm. That means it’s math. And if it’s math, you can beat it with math.Source
A lot of SEOs are living in fear of Google’s algorithm. But Kyle believes that algorithms are just numbers on a screen.
And while you may put your site at risk by testing different variables, you’ll never know the results if you don’t do it.
The point is this:
You can’t just agree to everything Google says.
Eventually, you’ll have to take matters in your hands and put their search algorithm through the wringer, even if it means going against its guidelines.
What You Should Do
- Know what variables to test — Kyle is known for launching all types of tests to see just how far he can push Google. He was known for being a part of the Rhinoplasty Plano SEO contest. The winning page was able to get the number one position even though the page was written in Latin.
- Keep a good record of your efforts — Kyle has wondered how Google was able to take down all his sites even though some of them had nothing to do with the contest. He can only speculate that he was caught because he used one domain registrar. So if you do run tests, make sure you keep a record of everything you do so you won’t meet the same fate.
- Know your tools — One of the reasons why Kyle was able to do what he did was because he understood the tools needed to pull off the win.
If you’ve never tried black hat stuff and you don’t know what’s going on the other side, you’re not really much of an SEO.Source
Glen Allsop runs Detailed, an SEO agency. He comes highly recommended by SEO experts around the globe, including some of the names on this list like Rand Fishkin and Tim Soulo.
This quote can be considered an extension of Kyle Roof’s quote.
Black hat SEO is a great way to test Google’s algorithm. By pushing Google’s algorithm to its absolute limits, you can learn to develop that take advantage of Google’s loopholes.
A great SEO knows how to test and experiment with ideas to come up with unique insights and angles on how to rank on Google.
What You Should Do
- Be highly critical — When Google makes changes, you must observe how it affects you and your business. For example, Glen noticed that his audience was cut in half after they made changes to Gmail.
- Go against the flow — Glen still uses strategies that are generally frowned upon in the SEO community.
- Explore your options without fear — The reason Glen is able to find success is that he experiments without fear. He even outsources link building when he sees fit which is not something white hat SEOs would endorse.
To further your own SEO knowledge and skills you need testing 100%. At a certain point, you’re not going to learn much more from reading blogs. You need to get your hands dirty and start to experiment with new methods.Source
Matt Diggity runs his own marketing service called Diggity Marketing. He does affiliate marketing, client ranking, and lead generation along with other SEO services.
There’s one common theme that ties the last three quotes together. And that is learning how to conduct testing.
It’s one thing to read up on SEO. It’s another to just go out there and do it.
What You Should Do
- Learn to dream big — Matt first made a living through building private blog networks (PBNs). It was easy money. In his words, “At the time, the standard for PBNs was quite laughable. Standard WordPress theme, 300 words of spun content, and a YouTube video and you’d call it a day”. But he wanted to do better than that. So he did.
- Do jobs that will teach you how to test — Matt credits his previous job for teaching him how to test and work more efficiently.
- Get a team to back you — This is what Matt did when his company started to grow.
Hopefully, these quotes were able to inspire you to take action and grow your SEO business. Learn from all the mistakes and successes of your colleagues and you’ll be on your way to the top of the industry.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the one who we’ll be quoting soon.