Ryan Amen is the Marketing Director of Nifty Marketing and has worked for many small to large businesses. He’s worked in various forms of marketing & been in the SEO industry for going on 6 years now.
He is indeed one of my favorites & I follow him since long & learn a lot from his content. It was really pleasure to take the interview of this fantastic guy!
Hiren: How did you get into Digital Marketing and why you choose this sector?
Ryan: I originally started my current career path when I got into Graphic Design because I liked the idea of working with business owners, helping them establish their presence & grow their businesses. Before I got into digital marketing, I’d been working at a sign company as well as a number of other freelance offline forms of marketing/advertising. Which, was really great because it gave me a well rounded education foundation that also allowed me to help many businesses get off the ground. However, I still wanted to learn how to build a good website & get it found online. Which is what lead me to Nifty Marketing. I soon learned there was much more to establishing a strong online presence than I previously imagined & I was immediately hooked on the challenges it presented.
Hiren: Ryan, Can you talk more about the Nifty marketing culture and environment in terms of employee engagement?
Ryan: I feel like Nifty is a pretty engaging place to work. We try to get as much applicable input from everyone at the company to help steer the company into a direction everyone is excited about. Nifty is a pretty tight-knit bunch for the most part & we enjoy regular Ping-Pong challenges between each other, company pot-lucks (as well as out of the office lunches) and the occasional company golf scramble. But we get serious too. We have annual & quarterly meetings with either the entire company or key people (depending on the scope of the meetings). Beyond these things, there’s numerous project & team based meetings & strategy sessions where groups will break off & brainstorm ways to better our client’s projects as well as Nifty’s processes & projects.
Hiren: What’s your opinion of Digital Marketing in 2017? Where are things heading? What should people focus on currently?
Ryan: Digital Marketing will continue to present many opportunities for businesses to grow but it’s also getting more challenging as more & more companies are stepping up to the plate & realize they need to amp up their online efforts. There will always be a need for quality work to be done to enhance business’s online presence. I think more & more, it will be a necessity to make the outcome of all your digital marketing efforts be 2-10 times better than your competitors in order to surpass them & maintain that position for a while once you’re there.
Hiren: “Citation based links are great for the Local SEO Campaigns” Do you think it is slowly devalued Or its still valuable? What is your take on this?
Ryan: I think they already have been devalued to some degree but still valuable enough that it makes sense to cover your bases well. Especially with the big data aggregators, they’re still fairly important.
Hiren: Suppose, there is a website with multiple languages, tell us first five crucial steps you will execute right away?
Ryan: For simplicity, let’s assume that this is for a service-based business trying to gain customers of different nationalities in their one local market. In that case I’d: 1. Separate all languages onto different versions of pages/urls (such as: site.com/language/topic). 2. Make sure users can access all language versions of the site from all pages to funnel them to the appropriate area (in case they land on a page that isn’t ideal for them). 3. Make sure navigation is clear & concise for each language area of the site. 4. Implement Rel=”alternate” Hreflang Annotation. 5. Add language information to your sitemap.
Hiren: what was your proudest moment? What client did you totally knock out of the park and took their business to the next level?
Ryan: Most recently, without divulging specific company names, we had a client we were talking to & discussing our end of contract review & plan moving forward & he didn’t hesitate to let us know that we’d easily delivered well beyond achieving ROI & he was also able to recently get a couple ideal, high paying cases lined up. He was pretty excited about it. It’s really satisfying when we can see substantial growth in organic traffic and most importantly, calls & form submissions but it’s even better when we know we’re getting leads that are turning into ideal cases.
Hiren: Local SEO vary with sites & its categories, suppose an ecommerce site has Local Business Coupons and you have to promote it for local market only, so how you provide a kick start for this campaign?
Ryan: Right now, I’d say a fantastic way to kick start a local campaign of this nature is with Facebook local ads. They’re still cost effective & there’s just so many ways to hone in on your target audience and zone in on a specific geographic area. Great option to kick start to a local promotion.
Hiren: How you interpret link signals into SEO? What’s your approach to do it properly?
Ryan: Relevancy, Quality, Diversity then Quantity (in that order). Acquiring links that make good sense to have and maintaining a natural balance as to how those look (anchor text, placement, etc.) are toppriorities with link acquisition. If you couldn’t justify explaining why you have a link to moderator at Google, you might want to rethink spending the time & effort to get it. Having links on places where you could potentially funnel a visitor that could turn into an actual client should be highest priority. These links may or may not be the highest domain authority links you’re capable of gaining but they’re great to have because you’re getting in front of people that matter. More often than not, you’re usually building community & brand awareness as you work toward gaining those type of links.
Hiren: People are more talking about Google when it comes to Digital Marketing, do you think Bing has some space? What is your take?
Ryan: Last I looked I think Bing was at around 20% of search share so yes, they have some space. I think Bing often follows suite to some of the directions Google heads in& obviously the 60+% share Google has is much more substantive but that doesn’t mean discount Bing. I’d recommend submitting sitemaps & implementing Bing Webmaster Tools for your site at minimum. For some markets/industries it’s much more important to take Bing more seriously than others depending on your age & user demographics. In cases like that, it may be well worth pushing more ad spend into Bing Ads than Google Adwords if you’re spending on PPC. Research your target audience & adjust accordingly.
Hiren: Google algorithm update refresh time frame is quite longer now days.
e.g There is one client who hit by unknown Google update since long and they did all possible solutions to overcome the penalty but still don’t get any results. What will be your advice to this client? What steps will help to sustain client’s website?
Ryan: Go back to the drawing board & keep digging. I’d recommend continuing to put some effort into link acquisition until you find the root cause in case it’s just a matter of link balance & getting past the tipping point with enough quality links.
Hiren: Ryan Amen is an idol for Internet marketing industry. Who is Ryan’s idol? And from whom do you seek guidance?
Ryan: Mike Blumenthal’s attention to detail & analysis of local Google updates has always impressed me. The way he stays so on top of local changes sets the bar high for anyone pursuing the local game to stay up on industry changes. Although I’ve been doing what we do at Nifty for quite some time now& been here from the early days of the company, I would still opt to seek guidance from Mike Ramsey, even if he wasn’t my boss & owner of Nifty. It’s nice to get his perspective on challenges because he has a different take & angle on topics than I do at times & it’s nice to get that balance of perspectives.
Hiren: If you had the power to change something in Google for one day, what would be that?
Ryan: Let’s look at this from a utopian standpoint & say that we know just how to make all the adjustments that result in that one ideal change. At which point I would then change search results so that they would NOT be influenced by spam tactics. Clean, worthy search results that give us the actual best of the related content available.
Hiren: How does your workspace look like? Can we have a picture?
Thank you Ryan for being a sport and answering the questions. The internet marketing world will look forward to this interview as a valuable source.