For this “Friends Friday” I did an interview with Ryan Stewart, one of the smartest digital marketers I know.
Ryan is really a jack-of-all-trades; he’s an expert in SEO and a master of optimizing processes. I have him to thank for creating my own process and if you go to his site, The Blueprint, you might recognize the main testimonial on his page. Moreover, he’s great at pitching for SEO, creating full campaigns that outline what to do each day, and teaching marketers how to hire employees and use them efficiently.
An edited version of our conversation appears below.
What’s your general approach when it comes to SEO?
First, I create a very basic framework to orient myself. If I’m doing work for a client, I have to rely on their product so that really creates my framework. Using LacesOut as an example, which became a really successful site, I started with keyword and competitive research.
I usually spend the first two hours of my day working on the most important tasks. I keep everything in my journal and have that sectioned between business and personal projects.
In terms of prioritizing work, you really have to feel out your projects and internalize what comes first. For me, anything that pays the bills will come first, especially if it’s something that will help my employees.
My calendar is always booked with meetings from 12-4 PM and I’ll usually spend my evenings working on creative projects.
Why don’t many SEO experts have a significant presence on Instagram?
I’ve found that thought leaders with a ton of followers on Twitter won’t necessarily have many on Instagram. It’s really a fundamental disconnect from the SEO mindset to other platforms. A lot of SEO experts are pigeonholed in SEO, and they don’t realize that SEO is just a micro-part of marketing, so it’s important to branch out to other platforms.
I also don’t think watching an SEO expert work on Instagram would be too interesting. I’m not sure how many people want to see someone working on Google Sheets.
And that’s really because SEO people tend to be the most intelligent of all marketers. Many of them see YouTube and Instagram hype videos as cheap tricks that aren’t worth their time. But they don’t realize that these platforms really do help to build and sustain an audience.
Are there any mistakes you see beginners making a lot?
Well, I don’t really create beginner content—I work more with middle to advanced SEOs. But looking back just five years ago, people got into SEO to make money. Because Google’s algorithm is always changing you can’t just make a site, let it sit and expect affiliate links and lead generation to earn you money anymore. A lot of beginners believe that adding ads to their sites is going to earn them an income but that really isn’t the case anymore.
If you’re getting started with SEO now, it’s much harder to easily monetize your site with advertising. Beginners really focus too much on links and keyword optimization. My advice is to look at what Google recommends for beginner SEO tips, which is a fast, easy-to-read website with backlinks to build authority.
What mistakes are mid to high-level SEO marketers making?
How does The Blueprint fit in this?
The Blueprint is built for people who know SEO already but are looking to take that next step and need help scaling their sites. It’s composed of 17 models that really walk you through the advanced SEO process from start to finish.