SERPWizz Interviews - Tessa Sawyers

Tessa Sawyers

Tesserae Media

Hailing from the Mountaineer State, Tessa is a talented digital marketing maven who knows how to stay true to her roots. She’s continued to drive big-time results for organizations like the Air National Guard, United States Secret Service, Capital One, and several successful start-ups. Off the computer, she’s a powerlifter. And she’s a heavy lifter on the job too – tackling SEO, site optimization, content writing, paid ads, and more.

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

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

When I first started, I was very fortunate to have a wonderful team at an agency called Knucklepuck. They helped to teach me the basics, but the biggest challenge I had was in diving into technical aspects and learning how to diagnose issues from reports.

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

My most successful link-building strategy came from a PR Release effort that snowballed into a news-worthy event where we got the local television station to come to our facility at Heritage Training Center in Frederick, MD.

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

What do I NEED to get done today to call today successful? What’s the priority of things on that list? What’s something I can knock out in an hour? Will that make me feel better or more on track? I will also listen to music, and set timers for myself to give myself a “brain break.”

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 typically have partnered with people I know or people that I have met through previous jobs. After that, I tend to keep the people close that are great to work with. I also try to be as upfront and honest about my work-flow and abilities when reaching out to someone new. For new business, I typically have found them via LinkedIn or Indeed contract listings.

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

Add keywords in the background. Create subdomains to increase internal linking. Ew.

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

Your time is valuable. Make room for the things that are important.

What do you think about link swaps?

I love link swaps if they are done well! I like to make sure that they are contextual and relevant in order to be mutually beneficial.

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

SEMRush – it is a great tool and worth the money each month.

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

By updating title tags, meta descriptions and completing on-page content audits, I was able to help the National Institution of Health Arthritis segment to increase their organic traffic by 17%.

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

It’s iterative. You can’t just do it once.

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

Some things are automated. I like to get site audits on an automatic basis and competitive monitoring so that I know where to look and what to look into.

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

Not SEO, but email marketing, I accidentally sent out $20K worth of coupons that were supposed to go out over the course of 12 months. This taught me to always check your settings atleast 3 times. It ended up being a really busy weekend where I was working after that happened!

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

Chasing money will only take you so far.

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

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you absolutely need it. Find a good mentor and provide value.

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

Do great work and give back to those who give to you.

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

Combining tabs on your Google Chrome Window.

How has Covid-19 changed your industry?

It’s made digital marketing more valuable as everyone moves to digital-first.

What's your favourite colour?

In clothes? Blue… In general? Dark Forest Green.

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

How to build drop-shipping sites. I want to build one on a domain I own and learn about it so that I can help other businesses.

What are you NOT Very Good at?

Folding laundry as soon as it’s done.

What's your star sign?


What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Eggies and Toast


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).