Top SEO Agency Pick for 2023:
This month we are featuring an interview with Evan Featherstone, CEO and Founder of SearchWise Media, our top overall national pick for the month! Thanks Evan for your time in doing this! This interview was conducted on Jan 10th, 2023, and we think it packs a punch in value to our readers! Please comment if you agree!
Mike G (BSL): Thanks again Evan for agreeing to this interview! What do you think is your biggest strength – what is it you can do for clients that you think other on-line marketing agencies cannot do?
Evan (SearchWise): No problem! And I like that you cut right to the chase. : ) Okay, so, firstly, I won’t say that there aren’t a number of good SEO/digital marketing companies out there in the US. That wouldn’t be true. But what is also true is that the vast majority of them are not good at all! There are two primary problems I see in the SEO/digital marketing industry in the US…
The first problem is that most US digital marketing agencies charge too much, and do very little to impact client revenue each month. This has been a problem for the 12+ years I have been delivering SEO and other on-line marketing services to clients. To this day, I still can’t believe my ears when clients come to us, frustrated and burned by their previous digital marketing agency, and then they tell me what they were spending each month, to essentially get no return. I’ve heard it so often that I have gotten used to it I think now, but still sometimes I just can’t believe what some of these agencies are charging to do a bad job.
The second problem is that most digital marketing companies here in the US do the “bait and switch”, as I call it. They have a great sales team or a big marketing budget, so they just onboard tons of new clients every month, many of them serving over 500 clients each month. So, their model is to just bring in as many clients as possible, and then they lose 60-70% of them within 3 months. But they don’t care, because of how many new clients they are bringing. Churn and burn is another way I refer to this short-sighted model. It really sucks, to put it bluntly, because it’s just a numbers game to these agencies. I won’t name names of course, but let’s just say most of the biggest names out there, who spend the most on marketing their services - this is exactly what they are doing. Very unfortunate.
Learn More and Apply for a Free Strategy Session with SearchWise!
So to answer your question, the first thing we do is to NOT do either of the above. : ) We always keep our prices for our services as low as possible, while making sure not to compromise results. And we are not built at all to “churn and burn” clients. When we take on clients, we want to be there with them years down the line, celebrating their ongoing successes and consistently proving our value as their marketing partner.
Mike G (BSL): That all makes sense to me. Is there one thing you that you think is most important for organic marketing for small to medium-sized businesses in the US?
Evan (SearchWise): Ha, how much time do you have? I think I could write a book on the spot on this one. : ) I’ll spare you the novel this time though. Okay, so, first off, make absolute certain that you have your on-site SEO (website optimization) done correctly. It is so easy for anyone to just say, “yep, your site is optimized” or “no, it’s not optimized” but with on-site SEO the devil is 100% in the details. The vast majority of our clients come to us having had someone “optimize” their site before. The unfortunate truth is that most people really don’t understand what this means. Most SEO agencies seem to not even fully understand this! So, if you do nothing else for SEO (no off-site SEO/link building) make absolutely sure that your website itself is optimized for organic search engine presence. If your son-in-law, or cousin, or friend, or even a large digital marketing agency has optimized your site, make sure they explain to you everything they have done, why they have done it, and what the outcome will be. In short, do not overlook the importance of optimizing your site – and doing it correctly, and thoroughly – you have to cover all of your bases! And after someone, or even an SEO agency has implemented your website optimization, run a few on-line SEO Audit tools on your site, and see what they pick up. Then call your SEO company and ask them to explain each item – was it addressed? If not, why? That kind of thing. : )
Mike G (BSL): You are a well-known veteran in this industry. What keeps you going? What is your favorite thing about operating an on-line marketing agency?
Evan (SearchWise): Hmmm…I think honestly that it is the same thing that has always given me the drive to do what I do – and that is that I love solving marketing problems for business owners. And, in business, marketing problems are really survival problems. How long can a business fail at marketing and still survive? So I love to meet new business owners, find out what is keeping them up at night, what is the thorn in their side, and then put together the plan for solving that problem. And then or course implementing and seeing the results, and seeing the client’s reaction to those results, both short-term and long-term. This is what keeps me going – I don’t think I could ever get tired of this!
Mike G (BSL): Last question for today, how long does it really take to see powerful results from organic online marketing, like SEO and social media marketing?
Evan (SearchWise): Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer here. One important factor is what has been done already? Has a strong foundation been laid that we can build a skyscraper quickly upon? Or is the foundation missing, or really shotty, and maybe we have to build it from scratch? So it depends what we are working with. If we are starting from scratch, the timeline will be longer – typically 5-6 months to really start seeing great results. But if we are taking over the organic marketing for an established company – one that has a website that has been on-line for more than a year, and already has a basic foundational presence in Google, and on social media, powerful results can be achieved in as little as 4-5 weeks. Because in this case, we are making adjustments (sometimes really important ones) that do not take long to implement, but can be really powerful in their impacts to organic presence, and ultimately to a business’s bottom line.
Mike G (BSL): Makes good sense to me. Thanks again Evan for the interview and we’d love to chat again soon to get your thoughts on Google Adwords and Facebook Ads campaigns!
Evan (SearchWise): You’re more than welcome, Mike, and thanks for having me. Happy to come back anytime to discuss PPC and CPM strategies and tips for success.
Evan Featherstone is the CEO and Founder of SearchWise Media, headquartered in Washington, DC, has been a digital marketing industry thought-leader for 10+ years, and has been an active contributor to our BSL blog since 2016. We appreciate his dedication to this industry!
If you would like to chat with Evan from SearchWise about your business's on-line marketing goals or questions, you can check out their reviews page here on BSL for more info!