Growth Hacking Interview Series #32: Nicholas Scalice

Nicholas Scalice, is a marketing consultant based out of in Boca Raton, Florida.

I’ve worked in the marketing world for over six years, independently, on the agency side, and on the client side (from About).

I encourage you to connect with Nicholas through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.

What is your main source of income? (ex: Client Servicing, Affiliate Marketing, Adsense)

My main source of income is certainly in the client services area.

I only work with a very small number of clients at a time, but I try to get extremely in-depth with each project.

Right now, I’m working primarily with nonprofit organizations, helping them become more productive, using inbound marketing, and growth hacking techniques, etc.

How do you close a potential SEO client deal?

Closing any type of consulting deal these days is a very personal process.

As Simon Sinek famously remarked, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

You gotta give every prospect the “why.” Why are you doing what you’re doing, and why should they want to work with you?

What SEO Tools do you have experience with and which ones do you prefer and why?

My favorite SEO tool by far is Raven Tools. There is just so much under the hood once you explore it.

It is great for a small team looking for an all-in-one SEO solution. Other SEO tools that I like to use include BuzzSumo for social research, and KeywordTool.io just because it is awesome.

Outside of SEO, I use a lot of other interesting marketing tools, including Buffer, SocialBro, Hootsuite, ManageFlitter, HubSpot, and OptinMonster to name a few.

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?

The best SEO campaigns that I was involved in were related to reputation management.

While I can’t get into the details, I can say that it was pretty impressive to see the results of our actions influence search results on an almost weekly basis.

We covered all the basics, and did lots of guest posts, image optimization, on-site optimization, legitimate link building, etc., and in the end it worked like a charm.

Have you ever been part of a campaign that ended badly, with the site being banned or losing its ranking, if so what happened?

No, thankfully I have not had that experience.

I’ve always been very careful with everything I do, and all of the professionals I worked with over the years were very careful as well.

And keep in mind, SEO is just one of the things I do. I’m not in it all the time.

Probably the worst things that have happened were more on the paid media side, where I witnessed some ad accounts get banned, or compromised. Stuff like that isn’t fun.

Have you ever done any blackhat SEO and if so were you penalized?

No. Never have, and never will.

What is your best practices for on-site SEO?

My best practice for on-site SEO is to start with usability. I feel that SEOs very often only look at the technical stuff, or they focus on it exclusively at first.

Instead, I think we should focus on site usability and the user experience, because that needs to be nailed down in order for everything else to work.

After that is done, let’s then get into the weeds and check under the hood. For usability testing, I like to use UserTesting.com.

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, I’d make sure the client clearly understands what can and cannot be done, so that he or she has realistic goals.

I wouldn’t want to over promise and under deliver. Next, I’d start with usability testing, then move to a full on-site audit using a tool such as Raven Tools or Moz.

I’d try to address as many of those on-site issues as possible in that first phase.

At the same time, I’d make sure we’re generating new content, primarily on-site.

After that is done, I’d start reaching out for guest blogging opportunities (carefully of course, given Google’s new attitude towards guest blogging), and try to get some natural backlinks or at least increase the number of social shares on Twitter and Facebook. 

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?

That’s a tough one, because there are so many different factors involved in those types of old authority sites. They appear to be very delicate, if that makes any sense.

I’d still start with pretty much the same workflow outlined in Scenario 1, because that would cover the basics, and after that, I’d reassess and see what worked and what didn’t work.

What niches you’d consider to be untouchable (hard to really rank on) and why?

Legal services. I worked with quite a few attorneys in the past, and it is not easy.

And when coupled with the fact that most law practices don’t mind throwing a ridiculous amount of money at paid media campaigns, it’s even more difficult to stand out from the crowd.

I’m not saying it can’t be done. It certainly can.

But I think that if you want to do well in SEO for legal services, you need to specialize in that and really give it your full attention. It’s not something to dabble in.

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?

I am a firm believer that people buy from those they like and trust. So you need to establish that first.

This goes back to the “why” question above. You need to convince me of your “why.” Why should I buy from you?

A lot of this takes time. So you need to create really valuable content, and give it away for free. Do interviews like this, blog often, create videos, etc.

Give value, and ultimately when you go in for the close, you’ll convert at a higher rate than if you tried to sell everyone on day one.

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