Serpwizz

SERPWizz Interviews

Ricky Shockley

Shockley Marketing

An SEO and internet marketing junkie who is always striving to learn more, Ricky knows what it takes to achieve results while bringing with him an unparalleled level of passion and pride related to his work. Ricky’s tips and insights have been featured on sites like CIO.com, Examiner, Search Engine Watch & more.

Check out Ricky’s: Website, LinkedIn, Instagram, Email

What are some of the biggest challenges/obstacles you faced when starting out with SEO, and why?

Learning and becoming truly proficient as a professional. As with most things, getting the first 80% of anything down is relatively simple, but the nuance, the little details and know-how that make up the remaining 20% are what make you a valuable professional – and that only comes with time and experience. I’ve been a professional SEO since 2011 and still, the learning never stops!

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

I work a lot with local businesses, so my favorite tried and true link building strategy is “link mining”. We comb through our comeptitors sites to find all of the places that they’ve earned links and we replicate those successes little by little, month after month. Whether that’s joining a specific trade organization, getting involved with local events, or working with local bloggers on features, we’re generally trying to chip away at new links little by little over time for local business clients. We like to pair that with using HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to get the occasional PR-oriented, high value link. We’ve had clients featured on CNN.com, Women’s World Magazine, SheKnows.com and many more high caliber sites using this strategy.

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

If I’m struggling, I’ll move the simplest, least time consuming tasks toward the top of my to do list. Knocking out some “little things” will help get me back into a groove before moving on to more stressful, large tasks that require lots of focus and time.

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

That everyone needs to have a blog, without explaining or understanding the nuance that makes a blog successful. I’m a big Joe Pulizzi ( of Content Marketing Institute) fan and I highly recommend reading his books before starting a content marketing/ blogging program. Also, if you’re a local business, I strongly recommend giving your blog a local focus instead of just talking about your area of expertise generally. I’ve had more success with clients who create local content outside of their area of expertise than vice versa.

What do you think about link swaps?

Link swaps should occur when there is a clear business benefit for both entities, not for SEO. If you’re a wedding planner, you might have a page on your site that links to bands/djs you recommend and those bands/dj’s may link back to you. That’s a great thing to share with your audience and it’s another way to share referrals, but it’s not likely to help you much with SEO because those links largely cancel one another out.

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

LEARNING. You cannot become an expert without education. That doesn’t mean an “official” education, it means digging on your own and using blogs, books, online guides and even podcasts to learn your craft.

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

People are becoming increasingly aware that marketers are using templates and automation for outreach. To me, that means there is an increased value in slow, genuine outreach. I recommend first connecting with prospects via social media (LinkedIn, follow them on IG or Twitter etc.), engaging with them some over a period of weeks, and THEN initiated an outreach call or email. This will dramatically increase your chances of connecting with a prospect, but it takes time. With this strategy, you’ll want to focus on a smaller list of high value targets.

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

Content Inc. by Je Pulizzi. If you’re going to try blogging or content marketing, you need a strategy to succeed. Sure, you could pump out content and hope something sticks (and MAYBE something will), but an intentional strategy designed to differentiated your content and build an audience is critical for most.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I’m a part time musician living in Nashville. I have two singles available on Spotify and Apple Music, so that’s definitely my “side hustle”!

What is a useful skill someone could learn in one minute?

Over communicate. Over communicate with prospects, clients, etc. This is best explained in Grant Cardone’s book The 10x Rule.

What one song can you listen to every day non-stop?

Instrumentals! Anything else would drive me nuts. My favorite playlist for work is Cocktail Jazz on Spotify.

What is the most surprising thing you've seen in your industry?

How many people are selling services they have no business selling. Our industry has low barrier to entry and prospects are largely unaware of what to do look for in a trusted provider.

What's something exciting you're currently working on/learning that only a few people know about?

Working on learning music production.

What are you NOT Very Good at?

Proofreading. I’ll read through an entire page and my mind will see it all without noticing the flaws!

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

A monster zero energy drink.

Author

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).