Michael Ramirez founded SearchRPM to build online brands that customers and search engines love. From their headquarters in Austin, TX, SearchRPM has been serving clients both locally and nationwide since 2011. Using a process called Design, Measure, Evolve, SearchRPM is able to incorporate both creative and analytical principals into every SEO project for improved search results.
Today’s SEO strategies also require even greater attention to branding and community. Most brands have what it takes to build a community online and improve their search engine visibility – they just don’t know it yet. SearchRPM helps clients discover their brand strengths and identifies the promotion channels that will create an engaged audience.
BusinessInterviews.com: How did the realization that many SEO practices go against traditional marketing lessons, inspire you create your own approach?
Michael: Whether you are starting a new site or new off-line business, finding new and innovative ways to separate yourself is key. In the earlier stages of Google, those rules didn’t seem to apply. Just about anyone could rank simply by buying links. The result was you had sites rank in competitive positions that weren’t the best sites. They just had the most purchased links or used other backhanded SEO tactics.
Obviously things have evolved since then, and Google has improved their anti-spam efforts tremendously. So now many site owners and SEOs are scratching their heads trying to find ways to gain those top positions without truly earning them. In other words, site owners and SEOs are trying to find other technical tactics that help average sites rank for competitive keywords in major search engines. The problem is, these shortcuts are usually temporary solutions and don’t help to build lasting brands people can trust online.
The web is an amazing resource for sharing great content and connecting people. Content is the key to top search ranking and building a brand. Many successful off-line businesses have understood this for decades. But, to be honest, developing good content is easier said than done. It involves taking a good look at your internal resources, experts that are open to sharing ideas and an organization that’s willing to put themselves out there to share their thoughts about an entire industry.
Our approach blends traditional marketing guidelines with today’s technology to create powerful messages that travel further. It builds a trustworthy brand and naturally improves search ranking. The approach is built off the understanding that the web is big enough for us all to thrive, but rankings are earned not given.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some of the most common mistakes you see people make when it comes to developing an online marketing program?
Michael: Defining what constitutes a win in regards to online marketing campaigns. Many site owners don’t have clear goals. Ranking number one in Google is not a clear goal. Why do you want to rank on the first page of Google? What do you want people to do once they are on your site? What do you have to offer once they get there to help them get to where you want them to go? The answers to those questions lead to clear goals. Once they are set, all of the marketing efforts are built around hitting those goals. This helps justify your marketing spend and enables us to measure return on investment.
Clients also put themselves in a technical box. They have ideas for improving conversions on their site but are afraid to say so, because they don’t know how to explain their ideas or think they are impossible to implement. Site owners shouldn’t write off good ideas because they can’t find a work around for the technical limitations. That’s our job to figure it out.
Another common mistake is not tracking results and making adjustments to the campaign when needed. With metrics such as Google Analytics, companies can essentially track whatever they want and get a pretty good picture of what marketing channels are working best. For example, a lead gen website can track lead channels by setting up a Destination Conversion Goal in Google Analytics and adding a ‘thank you’ page to their site. Every time someone lands on the ‘thank you’ page after filling out a form a conversion goal is counted inside Google Analytics. For ecommerce websites, you want to be sure that you are able to see revenue information inside Google Analytics so you can drill down deep into the data.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share a novel or innovative approach to brand awareness or engagement that you’ve recently implemented for a client?
Michael: We like to begin the process by using data gained through our SEO and search tools to visually convey the scope of a project. We are able to actually show how much potential interest there is for our client’s products and services compared to how much exposure their site is currently getting. It also shows where a client needs to be in terms of the competitive nature of their online marketing goals. By showing data in this way it creates a clear picture of how a client measures up against competitors.
We visually present the data in a way that’s easy to understand. This gives clients a better idea of how much work is involved in creating brand awareness and which marketing avenues are worth pursuing. By showing clients where they are doing well and where improvements can be made it gives them perspective on how large or small a project can be and which efforts will provide the biggest results.
BusinessInterviews.com: All businesses want to be ranked at the top of Google searches. What are some ways that you help your clients help reach this lofty aspiration?
Michael: Search engines do what they do best – serve the results they think would benefit their users the most. All major search engines do this by performing advanced algorithmic calculations to determine a page’s rankings. We do what we do best – help create content that people want to share and is easily accessible by search engines.
Anyone in the SEO field would agree that rankings are earned. There are usually fundamental hurdles we have to get over before starting our content and marketing strategies. These include asking clients simple questions such as:
These questions are about more than ranking, because rankings aren’t everything. Having a strong brand behind a product or service helps create that separation companies need to establish a memorable presence on the web. We pair brand building tactics with a content strategy that’s based on broad and long tail keywords in order to create that memorable presence.
BusinessInterviews.com: In April 2014, SearchRPM was voted the #1 agency in the Country by 10BestSEO.com. Can you elaborate on what this impressive milestone meant to you and your team?
Michael: It was truly an honor to be ranked #1, especially considering the great company we were measured against at the time. It’s the creative people behind our business that make the difference. We work hard to constantly produce services and solutions that benefit our customers in a big way. It was great to be recognized not only for our passion for search marketing but also the enjoyment our customers get from working with us.
BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired your decision to do a series of podcasts that you call The Creative Web?
Michael: The Creative Web was developed to show people working on web-based properties that everyone in this ecosystem is connected. I wanted to start the dialog between developers, writers, designers, marketers, etc. The podcast is an outlet where we all speak the same language and can help build a sense of community in the web space. When we’re connected with each other we can produce better work and projects that perform much better for our clients. The Creative Web provides a venue for making those connections.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some of your favorite ways to measure the campaign performance of your clients?
Michael: Every client has different goals that determine the success of their online marketing campaigns and influences the tracking systems that are used. We help define those goals, create channels for conversions and measure them using Google Analytics as well as other tracking systems that measure phone calls, emails, reviews, etc. Some of my favorite tracking methods are click-to-call tracking features, thank you page conversion and revenue metrics that are integrated inside Google Analytics. With these metrics you can gain insights into the channels are performing the best, which usually helps allocate marketing dollars more effectively.
BusinessInterviews.com: I love that you don’t just launch a campaign and then forget about it. Can you share how you’re continually assessing the importance of campaign adjustment and optimization to keep the momentum going?
Michael: Our company’s mantra for online marketing campaigns is Design, Measure, Evolve. Just like designing a website, you must have a good direction for how elements will be laid out. Beyond aesthetics, we first design the complete structure of an online campaign from improving accessibility issues on a site to improving a site’s relevance for special terms to deciding on a target audience for our outreach strategies.
Once these items are put to work, it’s easy to track and measure how things are performing on the site and across the web using basic metrics inside Google Analytics. With that data comes new discoveries for producing content about certain topics, an understanding of which channels are worth investing more marketing dollars and on-site optimization elements that help campaigns evolve and improve moving forward. The worst online marketing strategy is having no marketing strategy at all. The Design, Measure, Evolve process ensures that there is a specific strategy being used, and that it’s constantly being optimized.
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