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Hiring Superstars for your Agency w/ Mike King

mike king graphic - blog

Ryan Stewart

I build, grow and sell digital agencies. Most recently, WEBRIS, a 7 figure SEO agency.

The Founder and Managing Director of iPullRank, Michael King (aka @iPullRank on Twitter) joined us LIVE to talk about his experience growing his agency, hiring staff and moving from “big agency” to startup agency.

Michael is a sought-after speaker, delivering talks at SMX East, SearchLove NYC, Seattle Interactive, SMX Israel, SMX West, SES New York, LinkLove London, SMX Advanced and MozCon.

Let’s dive in!

Timestamps:

  • 5:10 When it comes to hiring what do you look for in people?
  • 9:00 How are you managing remote work?
  • 14:39 What made you want to leave the big agency?
  • 22:06 How are you getting big SEO contracts?
  • 26:22 How do you get marketing qualified leads when you do outbound?
  • 34:46 What are your core focuses right now in terms of SEO?
  • 37:17 Do you templatize your deliverables or customize them for every client?
  • 39:20 How much of your service is the strategy and consulting versus done for you?
  • 40:21 Have you ever done a log file analysis and when and how would you do something like that?
  • 43:14 Do you do the log file analysis for every client or does it come up later while the work is being done?

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When it comes to hiring what do you look for in people?

We screen people as needed and then we have individual meetings with them for the position they are seeking. We access the skills they got and figure out their proficiency.

Then we give them small projects and see how they perform. These matters are handled by a committee.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 5:10)

How are you managing remote work?

I am not good at managing remote resources. I have team members that are very good at managing the remote staff and I rely on them to get things done for the agency.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 9:00)

What made you leave the big agency and start your own?

I think that’s my natural inclination. I didn’t feel that they take good care of their employees or their clients. So I ventured on my own and we focus on taking good care of our employees as well as our clients.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 14:39)

How are you getting big SEO contracts?

Up until the middle of last year we had never done any outbound stuff successfully. Before that, it was all inbound because someone saw me speak or read a blog post on Mars or something like that.

In the last 6 – 9 months we started building more of a process and we have a lot more outbound stuff happening. We also got more content going out now.

All of the big accounts that we’ve gotten have been inbound because I spent the time building a personal brand and it’s yielded a great return.

The thing is I think, especially in the SEO space there’s such a stigma associated with anything outbound. All the people that I respect from a business perspective, those are the people that were like I want this thing I’m gonna go get it.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 22:06)

How do you get marketing qualified leads when you do outbound?

On the outbound side, I impress upon our sales guys to offer something of value. It might be a quick review on the site or some clear SEO pointers.

We do in-depth stuff as part of our sales process. We are identifying the specific things that we would want to do because our model is deliverable driven rather than hourly driven.

We figure out which deliverables our prospect needs for us to work with him. Our proposals can be 50 slide decks in some cases and so to that end, they know what to look for at least at a high level to have a good conversation in the sales meeting.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 26:22)

What are your core focuses right now in terms of SEO?

I’m not seeing any real emerging trends aside from people being hyper-focused on structured data suddenly. More and more people are realizing that they need to optimize for JavaScript whereas before it was like we had to convince them that this is a problem.

So it’s really just the maturation of things that have been happening for the last five years like mobile-first etc.

More people are now open to what I call “technical content optimization”. That is thinking through that how do we look at the statistical expectations and what’s going on in the SERP and then adjusting existing content around that.

We have deep knowledge in that and it’s cool because it sits in the middle of the two things like it’s both technical and content. There aren’t too many people that have been effective at articulating that stuff.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 34:46)

Do you templatize your deliverables or customize them for every client?

It depends on what we identify. We work on the stuff that is actually a problem for our clients.

A lot of people never describe the problem or tell the client why it matters etc. We have detailed overviews of everything and then when we’re going through it we like to guide the client as to why is the specific problem and why it matters.

We show you the screenshots, the code snippets and then give the very specific recommendations on what to do.

We also write user stories to make the developers know what to do.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 37:17)

How much of your service is the strategy and consulting versus done for you?

It depends on what the scope is. If our client has the budget we do the implementation as well. But if they do not have that budget then we focus on strategy only. So it just depends on what kind of resources they have.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 39:20)

Have you ever done a log file analysis and when and how would you do something like that?

We do local analysis a lot and we typically do it on bigger sites like media or eCommerce sites. The reason why we do it is that we need to get an understanding of what the crawl patterns look like.

You want to understand which pages are being crawled that don’t need to be crawled. That’s like wasting a bunch of crawl allocation on static resources. Or things like why are they crawling images over and over again. How often are 404s happening and what are the server problems.

If the client has the log files we’ll just download those and parse them and do all types of data analysis on them to figure out what the crawl patterns look like and also figure out how we can prioritize those implementations.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 40:21)

Do you do the log file analysis for every client or does it come up later while the work is being done?

We typically identify it in the proposal. I don’t think there’s been an instance where we use it as an upsell. It tends to be something that we need to know at the outset and it’s usually a function of the size of the site.

WordPress sites don’t necessarily need a log file analysis unless it’s a big eCommerce site and in that case, you probably have other problems.

Watch video for further details on this question (jump to 43:14)

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