Today I’m talking to Mike Arnesen, an expert in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), Technical Marketing, Analytics and everything in between. Mike runs UpBuild.io, a marketing agency that has an interesting approach to productized services. I split this conversation in two.
In the first part we talk about UpBuild, and how he’s been able to build his remote team. We focus on how he gives his marketing strategist the autonomy to figure out their own solutions for clients. We compared it to my approach to productized services where we have a very well defined process that everybody goes through using the same methodology and tools. It’s very interesting to see how Mike’s team can tell their solutions in different ways to different clients but in a very efficient lean way.
I constantly feel that I’m outdated about SEO, as things change so fast in the Internet and Google tweaks the way they analyze the web. So we spend a great deal of time digging into what we need to know about SEO and optimization in general today as in 2017. Topics covered goes from Google’s AMP project, mobile first, WordPress vs Squarespace vs Medium vs building your own platform, republishing to Medium, sub-domains vs main domains, and much more.
[5:13] UpBuild.io structure, and Mike’s unique approach to sell SEO services. Optimizing the business model both for the clients and for the team. Managing the complexity of people’s autonomy to solve problems.
- “I don’t want to sell SEO services. I want to sell SEO people, one person army.”
- “I view UpBuild not as a company, but as a framework.”
[15:53] The points of offering an umbrella of services instead of a single product. Escaping the commoditized approach to increase pricing. When and when not to accept ad hoc projects.
- “Marketing directors are the players. We want them to use us as the chess-pieces to get where they need to go.”
- “If the client can’t say I’m doing my job well with our products, then they [our products] don’t really matter.”
[26:29] Managing client expectations from the start. Analyzing context for accurate results reporting and analysis.
[35:07] SEO updates for 2017 and next years. Mobile first by default. Semantic markup and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Project (AMP). Accessibility. Robots.txt. Top SEO priorities for a SaaS company. Ranking for own’s name. “Not provided” data in Google Analytics.
- “If you are coming into new space and solving a problem there never been a solution to, Google’s not gonna have search data on that for you. Talk to your users and discover how they are searching for.”
- “Google Analytics is the best tool we have, but is an imperfect one.”
[53:18] Company’s blog on main domain sub-directory vs sub-domain. Publishing on owns blog vs Medium. Republishing and syndication. Publishing content: benefits of choosing an open source platform.