Greg Digneo has been part of both failed marketing agencies and successful marketing agencies. He also worked on Time Doctor with Liam Martin, managing remote workers for about five years. Back in 2008, he decided he wanted to work for himself. In the middle of the economic crisis, as the housing market collapsed, Greg started to study copywriting and SEO. One gig became two which became four, and someone asked him if he wanted to make a website.
This evolved into email marketing, and fast forward four or five years, a new company was born from a bunch of freelancers. It was a total burnout for a long time, the cash flow was poor, and it wasn’t a liquid asset of any sort. Long story short, it failed.
There were no systems put in place because he hadn’t meant to start an agency. He had no idea what he wanted to do at the time, so he didn’t have the forward-thinking necessary to control the flame, and he got burned.
Enter Time Doctor. Liam Martin was one of Greg’s clients, and after working with them for six months, he found himself falling in love with the work and asked to be full-time.
His main role was copywriting and SEO and growing the Time Doctor blog. When he first started, they were getting around 30,000 visitors a month, and by the time he left they were getting 400,000 visitors a month.
Greg learned two key things during this time.
- SEO is not that difficult to learn.
- SEO is a grind.
Copywriting and SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is making sure that your content is ranked as high as possible on Google, so that you can be found when people search for key terms, phrases, or words. Greg is a master at this, and the founder of the next step in his career, Content Guppy, which will be covered in detail below.
While copywriting and SEO may be fairly simple to understand, it is incredibly hard work every day. However, there are three things Greg believes that, if you do well, will show results.
- Find keywords that have search volume
- Write good content
- Build links
Doing these three things day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, will guarantee an increase in visitors/views.
Optimizing your website or blog for search engines is a long game.
To grow traffic, you need to layout a strategy for content to make sure it’s not fluff, and break it up into what’s called “top of funnel content” and “bottom of the funnel content”.
Content Guppy is a digital agency that focuses on great copywriting and SEO, to help others organically find your company’s content on Google.
Greg has created a five-step-SEO process to optimize your site.
Number one of that process is keyword research: finding key topics that have high search volume. There are three criteria for a successful keyword.
- A word that is not overly competitive.
- A word that is relatively easy to rank.
- A word that is relevant to your product or service.
The second part of the SEO process is SERP: Search Engine Results Page. If you want to outrank somebody or replace somebody on the first page of Google, you have to create something that’s better than what they have. Google likes latency, so once they find something that works, they want to stick with it for as long as they possibly can, until it’s proven that yours works better.
How do you prove it? Look at the top search result, and then replace their generic topic with helpful, super specific, actionable, on-brand content. Instead of staring at a blank page, Google is going to tell you what to write, and all you have to do is make it better.
Third, on the list is content creation. The key to content creation is creativity. You need to create something very thorough that answers the consumer’s question as specifically as possible.
Whenever and however possible, put your own unique spin on the content – whether that’s a personal story, a secret sauce, or an ideology – and lean into it.
This leads to our fourth step optimization – making sure that you touch on all the concepts that Google wants you to cover in order to rank. You need to make sure that the keyword is in the headline and first paragraph, and to make sure that the sub-headlines have the primary or secondary keywords as well.
The last step in the process is promotion and link building.
Everybody is going to post on social media and send it out to their email list, so the more you have in terms of distribution, the more you’re ahead of the game.
In tangent with this, you must find ways to get people to promote the content. Why would they do that? Maybe you’ve featured them, you’ve written a case study about them, or you’ve linked to them in some way. Those are two amazing ways to get people to promote your stuff for you. The third way is to incentivize them with a little bit of money. The best part is that anybody could do this just by finding a tool or a partner of some kind, which leads into link building.
Link building has been at the core of search engine optimization since day one. In other words, domain authority is credited to how many people are linking to your website or content.
Over time, link building has become much more difficult and usually is going to be the single biggest challenge for companies who are looking to rank.
Acquiring a link is almost like customer outreach: you need to give that person a reason why they should link to you, whether it’s through promotional trade, or partnership, or some other incentive.
Once the deal is made, it comes down to linking, linking, and more linking. Then, when consumers follow the link, they drive traffic to your site.
Learning to Roll With the Punches
SEO and Google are evolving constantly, which keeps everyone in the business on their toes. Copywriting and SEO can work great, though it can’t be your only play.
Just like Facebook ads, you need three to four lead acquisition strategies for a mature company.
Previously for Greg, Facebook and Twitter drove 30-40% of their traffic – sometimes even higher.
Google gives more attention to organic content creators than the social media platforms do today, which is frustrating to watch. The evolution of the digital media space has literally stripped almost any organic growth, unless it’s controversial or bad content.
As far as looking towards the future, Greg admits it’s not his strong suit. Like so many of us, he wishes he could know in advance what’s coming next, especially after such a tumultuous couple of years.
Still, he believes that for the foreseeable future, the best content is going to be rewarded, even if new AI tools evolve to the next level. In the meantime, play the long game.
Check out other stories like this on my podcast here.