We’re excited to have interviewed Phoenix SEO Expert Dorothy Wolden, from BizIQ, for the next installment of our Featured SEO Expert Series!
Dorothy has played a pivotal role in the creation and implementation of the marketing strategies for several companies, from those in the startup phase to more established businesses. As a former small business owner for nearly 15 years, she has walked in the shoes of her customers and truly understands their challenges.
What would you say is unique and/or challenging about the local SEO industry?
“I would say that it’s the human element. You’re working with businesses that often have 1-10 employees. These are small businesses that don’t have a cohesive marketing strategy or a brand-minded agency behind them. They’re owner-operators and small teams that are really good at what they do, but not necessarily sure of how to get that message out.
“Many times, the most challenging – and rewarding – part of local SEO is helping small business owners drill down into their own value propositions. Being able to help them say, ‘this is what separates me from the competition,’ unlocks a world of potential for them. But sometimes it’s a journey to figure this out and can be difficult to capitalize on in a crowded marketplace. Often, it means telling that brand’s story, and that’s something I think is unique to communities, people and businesses at the local level.”
How does your SEO agency stand out in a crowded market?
“By going all-in for our customers. From the moment they sign on with us, we’re looking at these businesses as someone’s livelihood. We know they’re depending on us to help them not only get customers and boost sales, but to keep people employed and keep their doors open. These are businesses people have started from nothing or that’ve been passed down through generations. We’re always trying to do right by them, because we know how much pressure success is for them.
“This is what fuels a lot of our efforts. It’s why we’re always learning and staying up-to-date on best practices. It’s why our creative talent is constantly refining their skills. It’s why our account managers are always happy to hop on the phone and answer questions. We’re always ready to do the best job we can do when it comes to supporting the small business owners who have trusted us enough to put their business’s digital presence in our hands.”
Can you share a success story from a local SEO campaign?
“‘New Image by Hilary’ is one of our local clients in Monterey County, California. They’re a salon that specializes in cosmetic enhancement services, from permanent eye and lip makeup to freckle tattoos.
“While working with a different marketing company, the owner, Hilary, was advised to change the name of her business for better visibility, even though there were only two direct competitors in her local market. That same company also advised Hilary to create a new website and domain name. Unfortunately, this company continued to charge Hilary to host both her old website and her new one. Although the marketing company informed her that her business was ranking among the top 3 in Google Search, Hilary’s two websites were competing against each other, making it difficult for her customers to find her through search.
“While hosting a conversation with both Hilary and the marketing company, we explained how her previous advertising efforts were not built for success. This helped secure Hilary a $3,000 refund from the company! Then, we helped Hilary build a new, fully optimized website that was no longer competing with her previous domains.
“Within the first month of its campaign, the business’s website generated over 613 new users. Of these new users, 38 percent came from organic search. Additionally, ‘New Image by Hilary’ now ranks in the top two results for 28 keywords on Google Maps. Of those 28 keywords, Hilary ranks first for nine of them. She also has nine referring domains to her website, further bolstering her visibility.”
What is the best advice you ever received in business?
“Don’t overpromise. A lot of small business owners we work with have heard that SEO is a magical rocket to the moon that’ll get them to the top of Google instantly. We spend a lot of time educating our clients and setting expectations. Many times, we exceed those expectations very quickly, but it’s still important to set realistic goals and temper expectations – especially when people come in with unrealistic expectations.”
What do you think is the most important quality that makes an SEO agency truly great?
“Remembering that you’re a service business. It’s people working with other people. They’re coming to you for help, not a product. It’s up to agencies to do right by their customers and put the pieces together in a way that best makes sense for each individual business. If you look at customers as sales targets, you lose sight of the fact that their success is your success. It’s about providing them with the best possible level of service. The revenue will follow in the form of satisfied customers who stick around for years because they trust you and the products or services you recommend.”
Any predictions for the future of SEO?
“Voice search is going to dominate the next decade. The last major shift in SEO was this concept that Google is an ‘answer machine,’ and that to be effective, you need to answer questions. This is still true, and it’s going to become the core fundamental behind the rise of voice search.
“There are something like 100 million Amazon Alexa products out there. Over 700 million iPhones! Hundreds more voice assistants in the form of Google Homes, Android phones, smart cars, IoT devices, etc. Every day people are asking these assistants for answers, and that AI is going to Google to find them. Businesses big and small are going to need to start optimizing for voice search first and foremost as people type less and talk more. “
What is your reaction when you hear that “SEO is dying”?
“Not a chance. The purpose of Google is to be an answer machine and there’s more data and content out there than ever before. SEO will always be the tool that bridges question to answer in the medium that is Google. Even as Google’s AI gets smarter and our tools for finding answers become more robust, there’s still the practice of making data as accessible as possible to those looking for it. In my opinion, as long as we have the internet – a vast repository of data that’s ever-changing and ever-expanding – we’ll have SEO.”
What do you think is the most important contributor to keeping clients happy?
“Customer service, bar none. People don’t want to work with businesses that treat them like they’re disposable or replaceable. At a time when choice is abundant, it’s never been more important to earn the trust of the customer and to treat them with respect and professionalism. And to be personable! The customer experience needs to be a positive, meaningful one –otherwise, it won’t be a lasting one.”
Interested in being considered as an SEOblog “Featured SEO Expert”? Reach out to our team at [email protected]! We’d love to hear from you and give you a high-traffic platform to share your SEO agency’s story and insights.