SERPWizz Interviews

Sean Bucher

Rocket Media

Sean is a former hockey bum that stumbled into the world of search after realizing he would never be an NHL star, and that no one reads anything without links and promotion. Since then, Sean has found a multitude of ways for his clients to invade the screens of users the world over. While Sean enjoys all aspects of digital, Organic Search will always be his favorite of the disciplines. Sean’s approach and methodology for location-based SEO campaigns have produced award-winning results for some of the top brands in the world. While awards and recognition are great, Sean holds true that a happy, educated client is the key to any successful campaign. Sean now runs Strategy for Rocket Media, where he specializes in strategy and direction for service-based businesses in the Security, Solar, HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical verticals.

Check out Sean’s: Website, LinkedIn, Email

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

A lot of SEOs are self-taught, so knowing where to look for good advice versus some who share opinion that are let’s say “inconsistent.”

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

We were working with a Tequila company that had excellent branding. We did sugar-skull makeup videos, which resulted in a considerable amount of links and shares of the brand. Natural link building! I was also involved in a similar engagement with a well known Hat brand. Create content that people want to link to.

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

I walk away from what I was working on and take a walk. fresh air clears the mind.

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?

Some partnerships come to us, some we seek out. When it comes to client partnerships I vet the business relative to the output needed/ lift. If the client is smaller than $10 Million in Revenue, we have to have a very honest conversation about where their money should be going. In most cases, these partners rarely have an internal marketing stakeholder. Sometimes, they seek help from “gurus” which can be a bigger hindrance in performance. For larger partners, it’s about finding brands or clients that reflect your values and you can create a shared vision of winning. More times than not, our job is to make the internal stakeholder look good, be their champion, which in-turn leaves their operators much more satisfied with the engagement.

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

Do something (SEO, Paid Search, etc.) because the competitor is doing it. Not all competition is equal, and it’s hard to know exactly where they are spending time and money sometimes. When you find yourself “keeping up with the Joneses” you often fall behind because you’re not focused on what makes your service or product great.

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Journaling my day, either starting with To -Dos and must get done, and just keeping a journal of my activity. You retain so much and can recall conversations much more easily.

What do you think about link swaps?

They can be beneficial, but be selective.

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

Learning the industries you serve and understanding their operations. Your decision making will be much better when it is yoked to their methodologies.

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

The most successful SEO campaign I was ever a part of was one that was three years in the making. It took three years for our content strategy (based on troubleshooting and buyer decision-making) to gain full rank, but when it did, their organic CPL dropped from over $30 a lead, down to $5.

Tell us one thing about SEO that most people don't know?

Sometimes, it doesn’t take time. These are outliers, but sometimes, the change can take instantaneously and act as a silver bullet.

What is a 'SEO tr' one could execute in <5 minutes

Robots file config update that would alleviate crawl budget issues for a large site.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — what would it say and why?

Learn to love the process.

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

Skip the general BS and get to the point. What benefit does the exchange have for both parties. If we’re going through the effort to share, let’s make sure we both get something out of it.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?

Trying to manufacture search volume. The Walking Dead was big and Black Friday was still a thing, so we tried a campaign with FastSigns to merge term sets and market the pop-culture piece with a product. Unless brand and traditional are bought in, you won’t get the full result.

Are your campaigns automated? If so, what tools do you use and why?

No, monitoring is, but the human brain is still the best computer we have for understanding intent.

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

Keep pulling at threads. If it seems black and white, 9/10 times it isn’t.

Describe your link-building team. How many members are there? How do you measure and track progress?

Our link building team is our entire team. Great content makes the best links, so it’s everyone’s job to build authority, from our social team to content, SEO, and LLM.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

You won’t figure it out right away, and no one expects you to have it figured out. Speak up when you have a good idea, and know when something isn’t worth dying on the sword for.

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

Finish the CS minor.

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why?

Anything by Malcolm Gladwell. Understanding people and patterns makes you a better marketer.

What is the most significant thing that someone much younger than yourself has taught you?

Honesty, no matter how difficult, builds trust.

When did you first become a rebel?

When I learned to negotiate my potty training for a Batmobile. (True story)

Tell us about your business. What does it do and what value do you add?

Although a bulk of my career has focused on SEO and search, I now run our strategy. I think of myself as less of an offensive coordinator now, and more of a head coach. My job is to make sure my team has what they need to succeed and knows the approach we’re taking and why.

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

Professional Golfer… if I had the skills.

Where do you see the SEO/link building industry in the next 5 years?

Being asked if it’s dead still. SEO will always be about creating content, in a findable and digestible form, that is paid for with each click, so the possibility is limitless.

Tell us about someone you admire and why you admire them?

My dad. He’s been through a lot as a professional. He was at PWC in the early days, left to build his own consultancy, and has constantly reinvented himself over the years.

What is a 'hack' you have for success that most people don't know about?

I hate the word hack. You can make things easier for yourself, but you have to learn to love the process of getting something done. Or, learn to love that things won’t always be easy.

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

I’m stumped. I don’t think anything comes that quickly. Maybe how to properly season a steak?

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

Motorcycle drive-by – Third Eye Blind

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

The continued appearances of Gurus that claim to have the proven methodology. Seems counterintuitive that all these people have “secret sauce” but most can’t explain it or actually show results in a repeatable manner.

How has Covid-19 changed your industry?

I wouldn’t say changed, but maybe further confirmed that communication and collaboration are still key to creating great work for clients.

How has Covid-19 changed your company?

We’re far more open to talent globally.

What's your favourite colour?

Blue/green… teal

What's your favourite holiday destination?

Europe (anywhere on the continent really) with the history, but also, most cultures are way more laid back than the US.

What popular celebrity do you admire the most and why?

Christian Bale. He commits to his roles but doesn’t seem to really want to be a part of the toxic celebrity culture. That’s hard to do.

What one thing in life do you consider to be overrated?

Clout. Some people have it that shouldn’t. It seems to be more of a game than it is a measure of one’s expertise.

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

I’m trying to evolve my data science skills. We have so much data in our world, but very few can understand it, interpret it, and derive the meaning for actionable things.

What are you NOT Very Good at?

Saying No.

What's your star sign?

Libra

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast burrito.

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).

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