Written Interviews

Facing Challenges as an SEO Agency With Marc Heighway

Today I present another written interview with Marc Heighway of I ask Marc about some of the challenges he faces as the owner of an SEO Agency.

Check out the interview:

What got you interested in helping others with Search Engine Optimization? Share Your Story.

When I left university I started my career off as a web designer in Bournemouth, UK.  I worked my way up the ladder to become an online marketing manager and digital director for one of the world’s leading technology companies working in Switzerland for a few years.  As you can imagine, my whole career has been based around the web, generating traffic, increasing online revenues, as well as the user experience.

In my spare time I was always working on personal projects and had become very adept at creating affiliate marketing websites.  The projects were doing really well, so by the middle of 2013 I decided that it was time to become my own boss and develop my own business.

I had been ranking my own websites for years, so it seemed like a natural progression to start up an SEO company to offer those services to other people.  As a result Expert SEO Bournemouth was born.

What are 3 of your biggest challenges working with clients as an SEO Agency?

The majority of SEO projects that I work on for clients will require them to make edits to their website in order to help them achieve improved search engine rankings.  One the biggest challenges can be to get edits and changes implemented in a timely manner.  The client might not have the resources or time available.  This is why I like Expert SEO Bournemouth to have access to the client’s website so we can make and code, content, and structural changes once approved.

Also in the past I’ve had scenarios where the client is adamant that they know the root cause of an SEO issue, but where my professional opinion might differ.  Sometimes you need to address the age-old statement that “the customer is always right”, because in reality this isn’t always the case.  Being professional, backing your opinion and experience up with solid proof, and being able to explain SEO as easily as possible usually fixes this one.  I always try to put myself in the client’s shoes as this can usually help overcome any issues of this type.

Probably the biggest SEO challenge of all though is managing the expectations of a client.  This is so important, not just for the success of their business, but also for you an external supplier of services. I always ensure that this is addressed from the out-set of any project.  Any person who works in SEO will tell you that nobody on the planet can honestly guarantee a number one listing on Google, especially with the ever-changing algorithms released by the search engines. 

What are 1 or 2 common issues you typically discover when working with your new clients websites? 

One of the major issues I come across when working with new clients is that their websites have not been optimized to best target the keywords that matter for their business.  Thankfully these are things that can be remedied quite easily by addressing the Meta Titles and Descriptions as well as the on-site content for keyword optimised text.  It’s always great to see what a difference a few on-site changes can make to their search engine rankings and usually gains some very quick wins.  In my opinion, SEO in 2014 is 50% about the website (the on-page SEO) and 50% about what’s happening off the site – such as relevant and authoritative back-links and citations.

The second common issue are Google penalties where a client’s website has been de-valued in the search engine rankings due to SEO strategies performed in the past – either by themselves, or their previous SEO agency.  Sometimes the client will naturally be very wary about working with a search engine optimisation agency again, but by pulling them out of the penalty, as I’ve done many times now, it can give them that faith back again.  What might have worked for them with SEO a year ago might not work today, which means websites can disappear off the search engine radar completely.  Being able to help a client remedy this situation is always very satisfying.

What types of link building strategies are you using today to help your clients search engine rankings? What’s working best for you?

I like to fully involve the client in the whole SEO process, and tend to give them tasks that they can perform in-house in order to improve their online visibility.  One tactic I am working on at the moment with some of our customers is relationship-building and making use of the assets they already have.  For example, many clients can reach out to their partners or customers to get a valuable link.  This approach can take some time but can be very valuable in the long-run.

In terms of the assets they already have, an example I would use is a client I have who works in the technology industry.  They recently presented at some leading industry seminars and so my view was that their presentations would be a fantastic link asset if posted online.  We put the presentations into PDF and Video format, uploaded them and did the usual social media and email promotion, and as a result had hundreds of industry people linking to this content.  My advice to my clients is to have a look at what they have which they haven’t placed online before.  They could be sitting on a goldmine of linkable assets which they had never before considered.

One SEO strategy we recommend currently is YouTube.  Whilst this might not be a back-linking strategy as such, it can still generate a lot of website traffic.  The great thing about YouTube is that Google owns them, so seem to give their videos some ranking preference in the Google listings.  I will work with my client to produce a video around their core business keywords, and then get that ranked up behind their actual website.  The result can be that they end up owning the search engine positions for the top 2 or 3 places with their official website, then a YouTube video or two.  I’ve done something very similar with the Expert SEO Bournemouth listings – sometimes all you need to do it put a very simple video together, as a simple as a slide show approach with audio – for example here’s one I did for my own company which displays when users search for SEO in Bournemouth.

And as we are in the middle of an interview ourselves, it a good point to reference this SEO strategy too.  Interviews are fantastic ways in which to earn a link.  If you work in a particular niche or business, then search online to see if any websites are publishing interviews with people who run similar websites to your own.  One of my current clients is a young businessman in his early twenties who has set up on online technology business.  We managed to find a few young entrepreneur websites that wanted to interview him – and the payback was that he got some very valuable links to his website.

What are your future plans for 2014 and beyond?

In 2014 I hope to expand the company and bring more clients on board, hopefully diversifying the industries that I am working in. In addition to that I hope to find the time to develop a personal website and blog of my own.  The plan to post tutorials for budding online marketers to follow.  If any of your readers want to learn how to create an online income then I hope the website will provide some inspiration to them, but as you can see it’s still very much in the phase of development so apologies if there is no content on there yet.  Please come back to it in the future.

In the main though, the main focus is to grow the SEO business and to keep achieving results for my clients.  The bottom line is that if my customers are happy, then my business will prosper.

Find Marc on LinkedIn

Other Interviews With Marc:

SEO Interview #1

SEO Interview #2