Look inside the heads of great marketers like Seth Godin and Steve Jobs and you’ll be surprised by the number of skills that these guys and gals have that might not necessarily be tied to marketing. You’ll see things like interviewing skills, giving good feedback, and even kissing butt. But you’ll also see things you’d expect like storytelling, a drive for result, and a focus on the sales funnel.

And after nearly a decade working in the SEO industry in various capacities, I’ve absolutely found this to be true.  Whether as the founder of Single Grain or in my full-time positions with companies like Oversee.net, I’ve seen first-hand that when I focus on meeting my customers’ needs, I ultimately wind up more successful than when I put my own personal gain first. Continue reading 50 Skills Every Marketer Should Have

Exclusive Bonus: Download my startup growth resources cheat sheet to easily refer to in all stages of your startup.

I’ve always hated reading books.  In fact, I felt so strongly that I could learn more by reading blogs and figuring things out on my own that I dropped out of college and started hustling at work when I was just 20.  But I’ve since come to realize after years of working that there’s really no alternative to knowing the fundamentals.

Because of this, I’ve recently challenged myself to read 100 books by the end of the year, using the following list that I’ve compiled from other entrepreneurs, my mentors and via recommendations in other books.  I’m currently a quarter of the way there and am pacing at two books a week.  To me, the experiences I’ve had so far with SEO and business in general are equivalent to a college degree.  Reading these quintessential business books is going to be my MBA.

So, not only should you read these books – you should take notes and execute as much of what you learn as you can.  But that’s a topic for another blog post… Continue reading 100 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

All work requires some level of creativity.  While it’s obvious how professional artists, writers, musicians and other “right brain” types incorporate creative processes into their work, even fields as technical as programming or SEO include creative components.  Writing code, for example, requires a certain level of creative foresight to envision how individual elements will come together into a final, finished product.

But unfortunately, creativity isn’t something that can be counted on to function properly at any given time.  Plenty of us have experienced the thrill of a “flow state” – in which ideas and thoughts pour forth in an easy, effective way – but for every minute of productive creative work, we’re likely to experience an equal number of minutes spent staring at the computer screen in the throes of a creative block. Continue reading 25 Ways to Get Over a Creativity Block

Think optimization is just for your website?  Well, think again…

It might just be my nerd side showing, but throughout my ten years of experience in the SEO industry, I’ve found that a lot of the techniques I’ve developed in my professional life can be applied to my personal endeavors with a tremendous amount of success.  But I haven’t just used these techniques to optimize how I spend my time, how I maximize my commute and how I approach my work schedule – I’ve got the process so fine-tuned that I’ve even optimized what I carry in my pocket!

The following are just a few of the specific ways I’ve used the skills I’ve learned working in SEO to improve my life – hope you find them helpful! Continue reading How to SEO Your Life

Can you tell I’m excited about this weekend’s “The Dark Knight Rises” premiere?  Even after Monday’s post on how some of my favorite Batman quotes have led me to success with Single Grain, I’ve still got a few reflections on how the life of the series’ main character, Bruce Wayne, can teach us even more about business…

Lesson #1 – Don’t let past circumstances dictate your future

It’s hard to think of a worse start in life than to experience the horrifying death of your parents in the way that Bruce Wayne did.  But while he would have been entirely justified in sitting on his laurels the rest of his life – complaining what a bad deck of cards he’d been dealt – Bruce Wayne transformed his sorrow into a commitment to making Gotham City a better place for future generations.

Too many of us hold on to past injustices and allow these experiences to keep us trapped in the past.  Unfortunately, this serves no one – not you (though it can feel cathartic to complain) and not the people that could benefit from your un-taken actions.  Instead, it’s much better to use negative experiences in the past to be the change you wish to see in the future. Continue reading 11 Business Lessons from Bruce Wayne

Since I’m a huge Batman fan, in honor of this week’s “Dark Knight Rises” premiere, I thought I’d reflect back on a few of my favorite Batman quotes and share how they translate to the things that have made me successful in my own life.

Alfred: “Bruce, why do we fall?”
Bruce: “So we can pick ourselves up again.”

I like succeeding as much as the next guy, but the reality is that you’re going to fail at some point in your life – no matter who you are or what you do.  You’ll probably have a few little “whoopsies” mistakes, but you’re also going to have a few soul-crushingly huge failures that’ll leave you wondering if you’ll ever find your way again.

The key isn’t to try and avoid these situations – it’s to learn how to pick yourself up from your failures and learn the lessons needed to move forward effectively!

As much as I wish I could say that I’m the exception to this rule, I’m not.  I’ve failed hard, and I’ve failed often.  In particular, when I think about failure, I think about failing out of college when I was younger and less focused.  If I hadn’t been able to rebound from that moment – stronger and more motivated than ever – I definitely wouldn’t be the entrepreneur that I am today. Continue reading 10 Batman Quotes That Led My Company to Success

A lot of people dismiss meta descriptions as an outdated SEO tool – one that the search engines have long since devalued following years of keyword stuffing and other outright scams.  However, these people are missing out an incredible opportunity to present search users with a snippet of persuasive text and increase the odds of generating traffic back to their sites from the SERPs. Continue reading Boosting SERP Click Through Rates (CTR) with Persuasive Meta Descriptions

SEO strategy websites are notorious for doling out overly-general advice without taking the time to either explain why it’s important or offer concrete advice on how to implement these tips across your own web projects.

 

So today, we’re breaking the mold by dissecting the popularly-held belief that you should vary the anchor text used in your SEO back linking efforts in order to create a more natural-looking back link profile.  In this article, we’ll cover the theory behind this oft-cited piece of advice, as well as various experts’ take on the best way to control your back link anchor text for maximum SEO benefit.

Continue reading Controlling Your Back Link Anchor Text for Maximum SEO