Growth Hacking Interview Series #30: Harris Schachter
Harris Schachter, is a digital marketer at a Fortune 200 company and hybrid marketing consultant in Richmond, VA.
He holds a Master’s in Internet Marketing and enjoy working with search, social, analytics, UX, content and conversion (from About).
What is your main source of income? (ex: Client Servicing, Affiliate Marketing, Adsense)
I have two main sources of income.
My day job as an in-house SEO channel owner at a large financial institution and my consulting business, which consists of cross-channel digital marketing consultation.
I love both of them equally and they really balance each other out nicely.
How do you close a potential SEO client deal?
Unlike some professions, you don’t have to try very hard to close an SEO client deal.
I simply show them what they’re missing out on from both a traffic and revenue perspective and they decide whether or not to go after it.
What SEO Tools do you have experience with and which ones do you prefer and why?
I have experience with SEO tools both large and small, like BrightEdge and Searchlight, analytics packages like Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics, and of course the usual SEO toolkit with Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, and a host of browser-based tools.
Have you ever been in charge or part of a campaign that was successful? If so, what was the result in the SERPs and how long did it last for and what was the term?
Yes, there have been quite a number of successes which I loved ever minute of. As with any SEO project, results are slow but steady.
I’d rather not divulge specific search terms, but the one I am most proud of is extremely competitive.
For this particular business, conversions from SEO doubled within the course of one year.
Have you ever been part of a campaign that ended badly, with the site being banned or losing its ranking, if so what happened?
Have you ever done any blackhat SEO and if so were you penalized?
No. This is a silly question.
What are your best practices for on-site SEO?
Best practices for on-site SEO all start with the technical aspects because you need a search-friendly foundation to build a content house on.
Make sure the site loads quickly, has a good internal linking structure, meta data is properly written and meta tags are properly used, make sure there are no broken links, etc.
For the content side, I’ve found most success in De-conflicting overlapping content because most sites just want to target the same head term over and over.
The best way to do this is in the long run is to back into it by going after many long-tail targets which are related but don’t overlap.
Below are two SEO scenarios, please explain in detail how you would go about both:
Scenario 1: A client has a new site that is not indexed and not ranking, he wants to rank quickly, his terms are mid-level about 25,000 searches a month , how would you go about this.
First of all, if it is not indexed, I would find out why and then fix it.
Simple robots or meta robots issues can be quickly fixed but if there is penalization the workload is much larger.
Assuming we can at least get the site indexed, I would immediately look at the competitors for those mid-level terms and see exactly what they’re ranking with.
What do those SERPs look like and what does the high performing content look like? I would dive in and try to reverse-engineer high performing content and then do it better.
Scenario 2: A client has an old authority site, with 1000s of backlinks all relevant but is not ranking and is not banned, what would you do to get this client ranking?
For an old site which isn’t ranking, I would first take a look at the historical traffic to see if it ever did rank.
If organic traffic has gone down over time, I would see if this was caused by something the site did (and the corresponding responses from algo updates) or if it was simply caused by an influx of competitors.
You don’t have to be banned completely to suffer from penalization.
So, I would see if this decreased traffic was a site-wide problem or if I could localize it to a few key landing pages and go from there.
Site-wide problems likely indicate action against the domain, for example “1000s of relevant backlinks” might actually be 1000s of exact-match anchor text links from 3 websites.
On the flip side, specific landing page declination usually means competition for the specific search terms those pages are targeting.
After determining the root-cause, I would immediately start implementing fixes.
If it was a site-wide problem I might have to remove links, check mobile friendliness, or look for patterns across the site like thin content.
If not site-wide, I might go ahead and re-make the content which used to rank well and redirect the old pages to them.
Get fresh content flowing again and show that someone is still taking care of the site to provide a good user experience.
What niches you’d consider to be untouchable (hard to really rank on) and why?
No niche is untouchable, but there are definitely niches which are just ridiculously hard to rank for.
What I’ve noticed over the years is that Google has the same rules for all websites, but the level to which they apply is largely dictated by the level of competition the site is trying to play in.
Ranking for low volume, ultra long tail terms can happen overnight, but ranking for the most competitive niches can take years, even with the same exact strategies.
If there’s one thing that you’d want me to buy from you using your website what is it and how would you go about it?
Well, I don’t sell anything from my personal site. I do encourage people to comment on my posts and write to me for some friendly banter!