Written by Kelly Rogers
Webfor founder, director of digital strategy and president of the Board of Directors for SEMpdx, Kevin Getch is the man to talk to if you’re ever in need of some digital marketing insight. We had an opportunity to sit down with Kevin during the Engage Marketing Conference PDX last week.
His affinity for the entrepreneurial spirit and getting people out of their comfort zone is what drives him and continues to grow his business. With an amazing team of people by his side and clients who are great to work with, he’s happy to have made the switch from the corporate environment to this new SEO world he’s created.
When and why did you decide to start Webfor?
I have been a huge fan of psychology and marketing in general for a long time and have been in the marketing industry for about fifteen years. About nine years ago, I grew tired of the day-to-day operations of the corporate world, and decided to leave my six-figure job and do something I was truly passionate about. I decided I wanted to really focus on helping small businesses. Three years later, I was able to hire my first employee and now we have fourteen people working at Webfor. It’s something that’s pretty amazing, I feel very blessed for the team of people I have and for our amazing clients. SEOs and marketers, in general, are heroes–– when they do good work for their clients they have a positive ripple effect.
What is the biggest opportunity in SEO today?
I think the biggest opportunity in SEO today is to begin by understanding the customer. Start with a specific strategy and understand how the different channels work together. For example, PR, marketing, content and email, if you aren’t clear on how they work together then you’re losing a huge amount of the value that you could be creating. One of the first things we do with a client is try to understand their goals, their customers and the current skill sets they have available to them, either through internal team members or contracted partners and agencies. We then build a visual representation of the strategy to give them an idea of the different channels, what they’re targeting and how each element interacts. Like, when you use content, it should be used in search, social and email. So many people will create something, but then it doesn’t get used. Like a presentation, for instanc–– you can record it, transcribe it, publish it on the website, push it out in social and email it out. When you can understand and really focus on creating great content and then making sure that it’s repurposed and pushed out to all the different channels it’s going to be more effective. So just have a plan.
Give us one thing that no longer works.
One of the biggest things that no longer works is ignoring the user and using old-school SEO tactics, where you’re not thinking about the entire journey and you’re just trying really to target specific keywords. That’s a mentality from fifteen years ago. The industry has transitioned beyond keywords and has moved more toward a topic standpoint. Things change, and you really have to think about it more from a holistic standpoint and try to understand the customer journey as a whole. It’s important to target the different questions the customer has and really focus on providing great answers to the questions they have. Identify what their main concerns are throughout the buying process––their uncertainties. What aren’t they sure of? What are they trying to fulfill and how do they make decisions? Make sure that you’re touching on all of those things, then you nail it. The simplest way to put it is if you are referring someone to a business and they don’t have a good experience, are you going to keep doing it? Probably not. So that’s what Google is doing––they are referring people to you and if they have a good experience then they’ll keep doing it.
What is the no. 1 thing you’re telling small companies?
I’m really trying to get small businesses to download the Google My Business app and engage with that profile because Google is rewarding that right now, heavily. They are really investing in getting people to do posts and use the Q+A functionality. With this app you can get instant notifications so you can engage with your customers and respond to reviews. I’ve seen clients really succeed with this. Make sure your profile is up to date and post things often. A lot of times I’ll see questions on people’s profiles go unanswered and that’s really bad, so you want to make sure that you stay on top of that. Once you answer one person’s question, it helps other potential customers, too, and you’re much more likely to appear in the search results.
Google is moving more toward trying to create something that doesn’t necessarily require any other platform or website, so I would say engage with their platform.
We have been hearing about the changes that have impacted Facebook, especially from an advertising perspective. What are your thoughts on this?
SEMpdx had an event in January about the future of digital marketing. In one of the discussions, I said, “You can guarantee that Facebook’s organic reach this year is going to decrease,” and literally the next week they made that announcement. I didn’t think it was going to happen that quickly. In order to be successful with this shift, you have to get creative and use a multitude of paid strategies and organic strategies together. There are also a lot of great things you can do with Facebook that are free, like the Facebook remarketing pixel. You can install this on your website to gather physiographic and demographic data for free without even running a campaign, creating a custom audience and with that data, you can then segment. Or you can run video first––Facebook loves video––this is an effective and inexpensive option. Videos can help build a fairly large audience from views you can then turn around and use as a remarketing audience tool, enabling you to go back and drive that group to additional campaigns.
What companies are getting it right, right now?
Well, I think that Tide killed it with their Super Bowl commercials and I love creative, out-of-the-box thinking like that. I would say most of the brands that are doing well right now are marketing from a very authentic and somewhat vulnerable kind of standpoint and are being really clear about who they are and who they aren’t. They also do a good job of understanding who their audience is and communicating with them.
Are there any new platforms/software that have caught your attention?
From the SEO side, I’d say Sitebulb has been a great tool. It’s a lot like Screaming Frog, but it provides a little more from a visualization standpoint, with easy-to-understand graphs. Screaming Frog is more helpful from a data standpoint and is very utilitarian for SEOs like us. I’m also a huge fan of SEMrush and am going to be checking out DeepCrawl. Another app that I use all the time is Leadfeeder. It’s great because it tells you exactly who is visiting your site so you can reach out to them.