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Interview with Inbound/Digital Marketer Ryan Shelley Founder of SMA Marketing

Interview with Inbound/Digital Marketer Ryan Shelley Founder of SMA Marketing
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We have great news! We continue to find out and tell interesting stories from the life and business of Top SEO experts. This time we interviewed Ryan Shelley!

Ryan is a Digital Marketing / SEO Expert at SMA Marketing.

Ryan shared his valuable SEO experience and story of creating SEO Agency. He also talked about SEO strategies that his agency use in work with clients.

To know more about Ryan Shelley’s projects, follow his Website or Twitter page.

So let’s start! Enjoy and get new insights with Sitechecker and Ryan Shelley:

1. How many years of experience in digital marketing do you have?

1O+ years

2. What type of digital marketing you have the strongest skills?

SEO and Digital Analytics

I read books and several industry blogs. I also experiment quite a bit. We are always running tests to see what works in different niches.

Ryan Shelley, Digital Marketing / SEO Expert at SMA Marketing

3. What projects are you proud of?

I really enjoy helping businesses that are just starting out or transitioning into digital for the first time. One project that stands out is a client with an 80-year-old brand but zero online presence. We created an SEO and content strategy that now delivers over 20k/month organic visits and steady leads into their pipeline.  

4. What do you do to further your own SEO knowledge and skills?

I read books and several industry blogs. I also experiment quite a bit. We are always running tests to see what works in different niches. 

5. Is there any marketing or SEO blog you like most of all and why?

Ahrefs puts out a lot of great info and so does SEMRush. I also like Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch. I’ve also enjoyed Rand Fishkin’s new blog a SparkTorro.

6. Who do you consider to be the best experts in SEO and digital marketing?

The field is so big now and there are so many great people in the industry. I still get a lot of great insights from the late Eric Ward. His sessions were instrumental to me when I was starting out. I also look to Eric Enge a lot as well. I love his data-backed research and approach to search. 

I am a firm believer in treating your site like you do your clients. We make a point to find what are users are looking for help with and then we try to help them. Our content is raw and authentic and I think that I why our blog has had some success.

Ryan Shelley, Digital Marketing / SEO Expert at SMA Marketing

7. What are the TOP-3 errors you made at the beginning of your SEO specialist career?

The first is not fully understanding the importance of tracking. I’d start projects without understanding the baseline and it was hard to prove success.  

The second would be overlooking the basics. The core tenants of SEO haven’t changed that much and they are crucial to your success.

The last is kind of connected to the second, but it would be chasing trends. There are always “new and improved ways”  to get results faster, but a lot of these trends are just smoke and mirrors.

8. Your blog about SEO and Digital Marketing is among the most popular ones. What is the most powerful thing about your blog’s popularity? 

I am a firm believer in treating your site like you do your clients. We make a point to find what are users are looking for help with and then we try to help them. Our content is raw and authentic and I think that I why our blog has had some success. 

9. What SEO tactics do you think are underrated?

I think that basic on-page work is underrated. It’s the core of your site and what Google reads first. People just “set it and forget it” and because of that, they miss out huge.

10. Do you believe that backlinks are Google’s past? Is link building important for increasing the website’s positions nowadays?

Not at all. Links are similar to citations in a research paper. It still one of and will remain one of the key elements. Good links are still hard to earn and because of that, they will continue to matter.

11. In your opinion, does the technical health of the website affect the ranking positions in search engines?

Yes. Google wants to give its users a great customer experience. If your site has technical issues that impact that, Google will not reward you with better rankings.

12. We all know about the July update from Google. Some websites rose, some of them fell. What do you think about the new algorithm? What are the main new rankings factors SEO and Marketing specialists should pay attention to? How do you stay up-to-date on the near-constant search algorithm changes?

I think SEOs tend to overreact to updates. We have zero control over what Google is doing with the algorithm. I like to wait and see what is really going on. After a big shakeup, things tend to settle down. If you do good on-page SEO and earn links ethically, you will be fine.

13. In your opinion, does the user’s behavior impact website ranking in SERP?

I think so. If our content meets user expectations and they don’t bounce back, I think Google rewards that.

14. What is your approach to developing an SEO strategy?

We try to develop strategies that deliver business results. We work with clients to understand what matters most and then create a strategy to meet those goals.

15. What services/companies/apps have inspired you the most this year?

I really like SEMRush is doing with their product. They have created some awesome tools to help me consolidate my work.

I also like what Neil Patel is doing with Ubersuggest.

16. What are the most critical SEO mistakes you have ever seen in other companies? 

There are a number of companies that really on one aspect of search, like on-page, and don’t consider the others. SEO is now connected to the entire digital marketing process and if you ignore parts or cut corners, you won’t see results. 

I think so. If our content meets user expectations and they don’t bounce back, I think Google rewards that.

Ryan Shelley, Digital Marketing / SEO Expert at SMA Marketing

17. How do you evaluate web analytics to measure SEO performance?

We look at several things like performance reports in search console and sourced reports in analytics. But since we create custom strategies for our clients, we must measure each one a little differently.

For myself, I have some extensive reports that track the number of things from Links to User Behavior. But if you are just getting started, I recommend keeping it simple. It’s easy to get overloaded with data.

18. How do you see the future of SEO (in 5 years)?

I think user engagement will continue to rise and the importance of search features will as well (Knowledge panel, rich features, etc.). Ads will be more dominant in the SERPs so organic listing will be harder to earn.

19. Which SEO or marketing tools can you recommend as a must-have for every SEO specialist?

I like SEMrush, but also user Moz, Majestic, SERPStat, and others. I recommend finding a tool that’s easier for you to use, helps you save time and delivers results. Most of the tools today are pretty great.

20. What advice can you give for those who are just starting their career in digital marketing?

Don’t be afraid to try new things.
Keep going with your fail (but learn why you failed.).
Trust your gut and validate it with data.
Always be a student. 

 

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