Growth Hacking Interview Series #85: Steve Morgan Part 2

Steve Morgan is a Freelance SEO Consultant trading as Morgan Online Marketing. In addition to his own blog (SEOno), he also blogs for State Of Digital. Follow Steve on Twitter: @steviephil.

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

I’m sort of a mix of a consultant (advising on strategy) as well as a doer (implementing campaigns and tweaks myself), cover all areas of SEO really – although my favourite areas are Local SEO, keyword research, coming up with bespoke link building strategies, and the whole link removal/disavow process.

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

Enquiries and sales. I ask clients to keep me updated with how things are going at their end, and to ask their customers/clients how they found them – so if they say “Google,” we know that the SEO efforts are paying off.

Not all of my clients remember to do this, so I also go by the classics: rankings and traffic from search.

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

Ooh, that’s a tough one… There’s talk that structured data / rich snippets may be a focus of Google’s next year (more info on that in one of my answers below), so I guess it makes sense for SEOs to brush-up on that in preparation.

What do you find most rewarding about SEO?

A couple of businesses I’ve helped were in dire straits when I first started working with them. One of them in particular had to borrow money off family and friends to keep afloat.

A few months later, we got good results from SEO and he’s now not only debt-free, but growing the business and hiring staff.

I don’t want to sound soppy, but that gives me a really warm feeling – knowing that I’ve truly made a difference to his business.

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

I follow a lot of SEOs on Twitter, so it’s mainly through them. I also keep an eye on the big SEO news sites (Search Engine Land, The SEM Post, etc.)

As an SEO, what is your favorite SEO hack?

I guess calling it a ‘hack’ is debatable, but I love using Screaming Frog to get an overview of everything (from an on-site SEO point of view) when I start a project. So, so handy.

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

One of the Google folks (I think it was Gary Illyes?) recently hinted that Google was going to give more attention to structured data / rich snippets in 2016.

That really excites me, as – for some sectors – it’s a really good way of showing off your results beyond the traditional page title, meta description and URL.

It’d be good to see more options open up and perhaps an easier way for businesses to implement it, too.

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

Screaming Frog (see above)… I think Google Search Console is criminally underrated – I’ve found some great things for clients by using it.

How is your typical work day structured?

I mainly work from Welsh ICE, a co-working space based just outside where I live in Cardiff – it’s about a 15-minute commute.

I usually get there around 8:30am, try to max out my time with client work, head home around 5pm-ish, work some more, then spend some time with my 18-month-old boy before he goes to bed, then I usually chill in the evening with a TV show on Netflix and a glass of red wine – and I might blog, do some admin tasks, or read up about SEO while I’m at it.

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

My usual go-to book is The Art of SEO, but I was recently criticised by someone for recommending that – however, I think that was because they thought you were meant to read it from cover to cover and therefore they considered it a boring read, when it should really be used as a textbook, looked at as-and-when needed for reference.

As for blog posts, I usually recommend Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO for people who want to learn a bit about SEO or who are just starting out.

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

Get the hell off Twitter, haha! In all seriousness though, try to plan your day as best as possible from the start of the day.

I know that probably really seems like obvious advice, but at least that way you can crack on with tasks in mind rather than sitting not knowing what to do next.

Ironically, I find myself more productive the more work I have on and the busier I am – if I don’t have much work on, I find myself procrastinating during the gaps, rather than doing other tasks, learning, or trying to win more work.

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

Penguin can be a fiddly little devil – I have one client who’s struggled for years with it, despite extensive disavowing and getting some really good links in the meantime. Fingers-crossed the next update/refresh will sort everything out.

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

I can’t pick just one… I’ll pick three, although they’re all from the same company: Moz. I’m a big fan of Rand Fishkin, Dr. Pete and Cyrus Shepard.

Very smart folks. I think Jennifer Slegg(of The SEM Post) is worth a mention as well – her news resource is great.



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