SERPWizz Interviews - Jeff Sauer

Jeff Sauer

Data Driven

Jeff Sauer is the Founder of DDU, agency owner, business coach, blogger at Jeffalytics, lecturer, and a proud Minnesotan. A firm believer in data-driven marketing, Jeff’s work has been featured in many industry publications and “best of” lists. Jeff has had 17,000+ digital marketers enroll in his Digital Marketing certification programs. He has delivered over 100 keynote presentations and workshops in 20 countries.

Check out Jeff’s: Website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Email

Tell us about your favourite/most successful link-building strategy - how quickly do you typically see results from this method?

By far my favorite method is simply creating a great piece of unique and linkable content. I know, that sure does make it sound easy! But I think creating something purely for links is often a mistake. Instead, you want to focus on creating something that’s truly interesting and valuable. Then link building is easy or in many cases will happen naturally. My biggest win here was the Periodic Table of Google Analytics which you can see here: The combination of the Periodic Table of Elements and Google Analytics was definitely novel and seemed to stick out in people’s minds. We also got some amazing links which honestly was secondary to creating something that was really cool.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

We use a system based on rocks, pebbles, and sand. Okay, not actual rocks and sand although that might work too. Instead, it’s the concept of rocks, pebbles, and sand and while it’s not something I personally came up with it does help me align my day. You can see a video explanation of it here: But if I’ve lost my focus or am feeling distracted I first take a quick break. It could only be a few minutes but a short walk can always help clear my head. Then I come back and I focus on my rock, which that big and difficult goal that I was to achieve. Even if I only make a little progress, I usually feel refreshed as I’m moving towards something big.

How do you choose who to reach out to/partner with? Where do you find them, and what approach do you take when reaching out?

I focus on reaching out to people that I can actually provide value to. I know that value is a bit of a buzzword but if I can’t clearly define what value I provide to a partnership how the heck are they going to see it? If I can’t define the value I can bring via a partnership in a few sentences then I move on.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

There are a lot of people out there suggesting we automate and outsource everything…immediately. I LOVE automation and outsourcing (whether that’s through tools like Zapier or a with a VA) but when you’re just starting out it’s important to keep things 100% manual. You’ve got to have an in-depth understanding of how everything works in your business before you even think about automating and certainly before you put it on someone’s plate. I see too many business owners and freelancers spend all their time trying to streamline a process that they haven’t fully developed and it ends up slowing down their overall trajectroy.

What do you think about link swaps?

I think link swaps are okay if they happen naturally. For example, when we were running our podcast we’d have plenty of natural “link swaps” where we’d link to our guest and they’d link to their appearance. But I don’t think that link swaps as a primary link building method are really scalable and thus it’s something I’d avoid.


What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?

Really investing in a team. Not just financially but also taking the time to support and develop talent.

Describe your most effective SEO campaign ever. What made it so successful, and why?

We completed a 90-day challenge where we produce 90 pieces of content in 90 days. Like many things we do, it wasn’t a dedicated SEO campaign, and instead, we focused on producing great content at a rapid pace. With that many lines in the water, you’re going to have some winners in terms of rankings and natural links.

How do you personalize your link building outreach campaigns? What are some tips for getting more responses? Do you have a follow-up process?

We try to actually understand the person we’re reaching out to. Instead of focusing on the total number of people we’ve reached out to, we focus on the success rate. By looking at the ratio of emails sent to responses or links we shift the focus to a quality over quantity mindset and that’s made a big difference for us.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their SEO service provider journey? What advice should they ignore?

I’d suggest focusing on the big picture. For the most part, SEO is about broad strokes and while there are plenty of details that can set you apart from the pack it’s not something you need to worry too much about at the start of the journey. When you’re just starting out, you need to focus on the fundamentals. That means working on the SEO equivalent of dribbling the ball and taking some shots. Not entering a dunk contest!

What careers advice would you give to your 21-year old self?

Take a shot!


Heather Wilkinson


Heather Wilkinson is a globe-trotting content creator and PR enthusiast who’s finally put down roots in her native UK. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her pretending to care about Minecraft for her son’s sake, while secretly reading the latest Ace Atkins novel (or sleeping – her second favourite past-time).