Emory is a founder of an SEO company called Leverable.com based on Atlanta. He is an passionate SEO Consultant by profession & very active member in all the digital marketing platforms like in Inbound.org, Moz and many more.
He is one of my favorite & I follow him since long & learn a lot. It was really pleasure to take the interview of this fantastic guy!
Below is the transcript of the interview.
Hiren: Emory, we would like to know a bit about your career background, and how and when you got into SEO and Digital Marketing?
Emory: While I was designing websites I realized that making subtle changes to the pages could draw in more visitors. I became very curious about this and began learning all I could about search engines. SEO excited me because the costs were low and the rewards great. A poor man could thrash around the SERPs with big brands. SEO combined with affiliate marketing could generate more passive income than I could make doing web design. I eventually got my first in-house SEO gig as a contractor for IHG and later joined up with a few Atlanta agencies.
Hiren: Being an SEO consultant and knowing that 100% result is not in our hands, how do you commit to your clients and make them happy?
Emory: Man, I wish I could make all clients 100% happy all the time 🙂 Always I try and deliver high-quality excellent work that proves my value to the client. They tend to stick with me for a long time so they must like it :). Even with the bumps that come in search engine performance, you earn their respect and they want to stay with you. This is especially true when you recommend a course of action for the long term that seems ridiculous at the time but turns out wonderfully. I have clients who have stayed for nearly three years from the time I said goodbye to my last agency gig and went full time.
Hiren: What is the story behind Leverable SEO and starting this business?
Emory: I wanted to transform my part time company into a full time SEO consulting business. I grew so tired of giving my best to agencies when I knew I could do better on my own. The only part that I wasn’t sure about was getting new customers. I’m terrible at sales. But guess what? It worked out fine when I learned that I don’t have to sell. Just do a great job for clients and they’ll be a better sales team than you could ever hire.
My wife and I had been trying to think of the perfect name. We were driving down Interstate 75 discussing ideas when she turned and said,
And I said,
Thus the name.
Hiren: What would be your 1st tip for amateurs in Link building?
Emory: The better the thing that you’re building the link to, the better your chance of getting a link.
Hiren: What are your favourite SEO tools, and why?
Emory: I’m always skeptical about new online tools because everyone wants to dazzle you with their nifty new app. A lot of tools truly are cool but they just don’t offer practical value that I can use to help clients. So I move on.
Premium doesn’t always mean better either. I don’t discriminate among free and paid tools. A lot of times free tools provide more value than the paid. Monthly subscriptions to 10, 20 or more tools adds up so I find myself using paid tools as needed.
To say that I rely on Screaming Frog is an understatement. If you take it away you’ll have to give me a straight jacket. I use header checkers constantly to look behind the scenes. I’m using SEMRush more these days for keywords. It’s getting better and better.
Hiren: What are the most common mistakes you see committed by SEO’s today?
Emory: Advising clients on what they’ve read instead of what they’ve done. Or worse, just giving bad advice. In this industry, if you’re not sure, don’t say it.
Hiren: What are the biggest personal sacrifices you have made to progress your business and did they play out as you anticipated when you acted on them?
Emory: I’ve been working almost all nights and weekends for a few years. It’s worked but now I’m ready to ease back and delegate some tasks. Right now I’m looking for an SEO manager to handle the growth at Leverable.
Hiren: If you had to identify the top most ranking factors, what would they be?
Emory: My simple definition of SEO is “links to content.” Doing these two things at a high quality level over the long term matter the most to me. It’s why some people who know nothing about SEO do well. They’ve received great links to extraordinary content they’ve created and were lucky enough to escape any catastrophic technical SEO mistakes.
Hiren: A high school senior finds more scope and is looking to enter the world of digital marketing after graduation. Emory, what would be your advice to the student?
Emory: In school, most of learning came from reading, studying, and listening to lectures. Develop your geekish curiosity and start learning by experience – test, break and do the unanticipated to deepen your understanding and become an expert. When you’ve learned something through experience, no one can convince you you’re wrong.
Hiren: What’s the biggest challenge you have to overcome when working with clients?
Emory: Among clients, there are many different perceptions of what SEO is and how it works. One of the toughest challenges is influencing a client to replace an outdated notion with a new one. Sometimes I get a frustrated and want to scream “It doesn’t work that way anymore!”
Hiren: Who is Emory’s idol? From whom do you seek guidance?
Emory: I’m a follower of Jesus Christ and pray every morning before I start work. I ask for creative solutions for clients. And sometimes to be able to work faster! There is definitely a spiritual dimension to work beyond making money or success.
I’m also a fan of the optimistic digital entrepreneur who takes risks every day in order to fulfill the dream in his heart, the dream that he knows is far superior to the corporate day job alternative.
Hiren: If you had the power to change something in Google for one day, what would that be?
Emory: I’d reverse all undeserved search penalties.
Hiren: What do you mean by “underserved?”
Emory: I’m thinking about white hat bloggers who work hard and create great content. They help others online and take great pride in their labor of love… but one day wake up with a Panda footprint across their face.
Hiren: What do you do when you are not doing SEO?
Emory: I’m hardly ever not doing SEO 🙂 What I really enjoy doing is writing, but I rarely seem to make time for it.
Hiren: What does your workspace look like? Can we have a picture?
Emory: Any else use a standing station?