Growth Hacking Interview Series #77: Greg Strandberg

Greg Strandberg is a professional writer. He has more than 50 books selling on Amazon. Strandberg bills himself as a content curator.

His “Midweek Content Roundup” posts on his website Big Sky Words collect the best SEO, social media marketing, and content marketing news from each week for you.

How would you explain specifically what you do as an SEO?

I don’t do anything as an SEO. I’m not an SEO – I’m a writer.

What I do mainly is go around each day and read all the latest news on SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, and other stories.

After that I pretty much just curate that content, making it easier to handle for readers.

This also gives me quite a bit of SEO institutional memory, meaning I can remember events from a year ago or more, and easily pull those back up.

What is your primary marketing goal when it comes to delivering results?

My main goal is to inform and influence my audience, typically through my writing.

Which new skills are most important for SEO’s to learn in the next six months?

The area that interests me the most is local SEO. We’re always told to “think globally but act locally,” and our current mobile world allows that.

I’d encourage sites to get their Google My Business page set up, get their contact page showing hours and address, and just about anything else that mobile users can do to better find you.

Local results are going to be critical for small businesses and large, especially as mobile search begins to dominate desktop.

What do you find most rewarding about SEO?

As a content writer, I’m not concerned so much with SEO. What I do find amusing, however, is the way that SEO-types fall all over themselves several times a year in a panic over the latest Google algorithm.

I don’t worry about this because I write content and develop my links that way. I choose not to engage in the manipulation that SEO entails, mainly because Google has made it quite plain, to me at least, that optimization and manipulation is not what’s wanted.

I know that my approach will yield bountiful results in the coming months and years as SEO fades in importance.

How do you stay updated with the latest SEO industry news?

I check 18 sites regularly each day. Some of these are:

Content Marketing Institute

Search Engine Land

Marketing Land

Search Engine Journal

Moz

Boost Blog Traffic

Quick Sprout

Crazy Egg

Entrepreneur

Forbes

Buffer Social

I also check out a few Google+ groups. I find this network to be the best for community-based news, much better than Facebook.

As an SEO, what is your favorite SEO hack?

I go the “quality content” route that we hear Google advocate so much. Mainly that requires sitting down each day and putting in the work. There are no shortcuts.

SEO-types would do well to think about this. You don’t see us content guys scurrying around with our heads chopped off when algo updates roll out. It’s you that Google hates, not us. Get your act together!

Are there any particular SEO trends on the horizon that really excite you?

I love how quality content is taking over from SEO, and how link attribution and authority links have to come from content.

People don’t care who’s linking to you – they care about you solving their problem. SEO doesn’t do that, your words do.

I’m sorry, and I doubt you want to read that, but Google keeps telling us that content is where it’s at.

The good news is that up to 25% of businesses think their content is virtually worthless. You can fill that gap and help them out. Lots of opportunity here.

What are some of the top tools and apps in your SEO stack?

I prefer to use the word “crutch” as opposed to tools.

I don’t like to walk down the street with a crutch, not when I don’t need it. Why SEO-types feel the need to has always baffled me.

Expect this tiresome fad of “tool posts” to go away in 2016.

How is your typical work day structured?

I get up and write 1,000 words or more on my current novel. After that I check my 18 sites and post to my social groups. I also work on my Midweek content curation post, which appears on my site each Wednesday.

I work all day and on the weekends too. I do this because I enjoy writing. I love my job and am very lucky to do it.

Which one book/blog post would you recommend every SEO should read?

Ogilvy on Advertising is a good book for people interested in making persuasive content, the kind that sells.

What advice would you share with other SEO’s who want to become more productive?

I frown upon Skype, as it is a time-suck. I can get more done in a quick email than 10 to 20 minutes on Skype.

Segment your day into tasks. I do most of my curation work in the morning, for instance.

Among the Google algorithm updates what is the most challenging one that you’ve encountered?

I have no issues with Google algorithms as I take a content-based approach to building traffic and creating links.

This is the slow and steady approach that we’ve read about in books like “The Tortoise and the Hare.”

Many forget that the fast rabbit lost that one.

If there’s one SEO Guru you’d recommend who and why.

I would not recommend any SEO gurus and would encourage you to always question the SEO-types and the advice they give you.

From my experience they tell you to do something, charge you high fees for that, and then come back 6 months later when Google dinged you. Of course, they’re ready to take more of your money to “fix” the problem.

Why do we put up with these people?
I have no idea.

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