It’s important to challenge yourself, but also important to set realistic expectations. With that said, I chose to interview some top SEO practitioners in the industry who have dared to push the limits.
Originally, I was planning on only interviewing five top SEOs, but after some thought I decided to publish a total of eight interviews in a series. We all have questions, especially in an industry that is constantly changing, therefore my hope is that through these interviews you can gain some insight into how the top SEO Practitioners plan, overcome obstacles, and execute campaigns.
#1: John Lincoln, President of Ignite Visibility
Joshua: What was the scenario before taking on the project? What obstacles did you face?
John: Josh, first, thanks for the interview. It’s always great to talk about past projects that I’ve had the opportunity to learn from. I am going to talk about a project that I worked on early in my career. I believe I’ve come a long way since this project, but I think readers will find it inspiring.
For this particular project, we were migrating 40 websites into one large site. We had to make sure to keep revenue up and increase revenue through the process of the transition. It was a big, well known client that needed direction and really just wanted some extra help with the project.
Joshua: Did you have a tight deadline that you had to meet?
John: Deadlines are always a factor. In this particular project, if we didn’t hit certain revenue goals in the 6 to 9 month range the client could cancel. But we worked so hard that was not really an issue. I usually find that if you really put your heart into the campaign, and don’t drop the ball, the client is on your side.
Joshua: Were there any doubts or reservations about taking on the campaign?
John: Well, I had migrated a lot of websites before that point. But this was the largest I had taken on and the client was pretty reputable. Every URL counts, and of course the optimization on that URL, so when you are migrating 40 sites into one large site, there is a lot at stake. I have seen companies lose huge amounts of revenue when they forget little details in a site migration. They always kick themselves for not bringing on a pro to help. So there was a lot at stake. There was revenue, reputation and probably more.
Joshua: What was your strategy to meet the deadline?
John: Strategic planning is critical in online marketing. We made sure to take a phased, calculated approach. We considered one optimization at a time, one section at a time and one site at a time. We then took those optimizations and wrote a few dynamic SEO templates that expanded the optimization exponentially. This allowed for better usability, a more accurate website structure and of course, a cleaner site for indexing. We also made sure the new pages were better optimized for conversions and social media. They targeted niche keywords and had an excellent look and feel. We knew they would attract users, links/shares, search engines and we could even run PPC to them and improve our ROAS.
Joshua: What were the results of the campaign? Did you meet the deadline?
John: Not only did we meet the deadline, we successfully migrated all 40 websites into one and set up a 6-tier optimization structure that worked across the different verticals that the website catered to. This allowed for one of the most comprehensive, long-tail optimizations that I have ever seen or done. This made hundreds of thousands of categories/pages. Also, because we built it with CRO in mind, we had clean funnels for analytics tracking.
As the search engines found more and more URLs, traffic steadily climbed. We implemented a beautiful dynamic optimization that had a well thought-out keyword strategy. Revenue climbed with traffic. When it was all said and done, the client made millions and had the best year in their history. It was a very rewarding campaign. It was a great client and it felt so good to get a solid group win. There was literally a group “hoorah” at the quarterly meeting!
Joshua: Would you have approached the campaign differently if the situation were more ideal? If so, how?
John: With my experience now, I would look at that same project and know exactly what to do. I could probably knock it out in half the time. But I had to go through that process to learn.
Joshua: What was the number one lesson that you took away from this experience?
John: At the beginning, any task can seem insurmountable. But if you break it into segments, you can handle anything. Also, if you work with other great, smart people, anything can be accomplished. The most rewarding campaigns I have ever worked on are those that seemed impossible upon first consideration. Those ones are the most fun, and often result in best returns.
Joshua: Any tips for our readers?
John: With hard work, determination and good people, you can win at anything. But you have to really want it; you have to put in the time. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and tackle the big projects. Those are the most fun and result in the most growth. The biggest profits and coolest ideas on the Internet usually started with a few people, putting in real concentration focusing on the subtleties and making something that is better and different than the rest. Making money and a difference online is hard work, but with smart, hardworking people in your corner, you can get there.
About John Lincoln:
John Lincoln is Founder and President of SEO and Social Media at Ignite Visibility, a premier Internet marketing company based in San Diego, CA. As a seasoned online marketing expert, John E Lincoln has ensured results for hundreds of online businesses. Lincoln has authored thousands of blog posts and articles, taken multiple websites to the number one position in Google for competitive keywords, and built social media communities with hundreds of thousands of members.
In the community, Lincoln teaches a quarterly course on social media marketing, search engine optimization and analytics at UC San Diego. He is also a frequent corporate trainer and public speaker. He is a regular writer for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and Search Engine Journal. Lincoln holds an M.B.A. in finance from AIU and a B.A. in literature from UC Santa Cruz. He is Google Analytics certified and Google AdWords Certified with an emphasis in Advanced Reporting and Analysis. He is also an avid surfer and soccer player.
By: Joshua Belland, SEO Platform Strategist at Analytics SEO