We’re excited to have interviewed Milwaukee SEO expert Eric Hess, from SocialSurge Marketing, for the next installment of our Featured SEO Expert Series!
Eric Hess co-founded his agency, SocialSurge Marketing, in 2017, with the goal of helping small businesses in the Milwaukee area be found and be talked about online using SEO, social media marketing and paid advertising.
Since starting his agency, Eric has been able to help several businesses in the area get on the map and improve marketing ROI in highly competitive industries such as criminal defense law, personal training and daycare, to name a few.
Eric believes building relationships with his clients is the key to success and allows his team to know exactly what clients’ goals and expectations are.
What would you say is unique and/or challenging about the current Milwaukee SEO industry?
“I would say, right now, it’s just making sure everything’s up to date. With COVID-19 still ongoing, people are looking for information online, especially at the local level. They’re looking to see if your restaurant’s open, your store’s open. Are you accepting dine-in? Are you going to do take-out? Whatever it is, just making sure everything is updated and tells the same story across everything is a challenge.
“If it says one thing on Google My Business and another on the website, that’s a problem because we don’t want to see a disconnect there, and it gets confusing for clients or potential customers.”
How does your SEO agency stand out in a crowded market like Milwaukee?
“We’re pretty medium-sized when it comes to the clients that we work with. We’re not going to try working with Coca-Cola, but at the same time, we’re not going to crutch ourselves by working with someone who’s brand-new or a startup or doesn’t have the funds for it. We live in that middle space, which is awesome for us.
“We focus on Google My Business first, making sure local is top of mind for everything. We turn to Google My Business to make sure clients get the biggest boost right away and pick all the low-hanging fruit that there is. I would say that’s what sets us apart – making sure we’re doing what’s best for the client and not just providing a cookie-cutter solution for everyone.”
Can you share a success story from a local SEO campaign centered around your area?
“One that jumps to mind is a daycare, and we started with SEO. We took a look at their site and where they were ranking – the normal stuff you do when you start optimizing. They weren’t ranking on the first page for anything, and they had a lot of bad reviews. Also, they didn’t ask for reviews in general.
“So, we helped them completely optimize their site for the local area and made sure they were asking people for reviews because they had a lot of happy customers. Eventually, they were ranking across the board for all local terms, and now they’re actually the first site that ranks in their area when people are looking for daycares.”
What is the best advice you ever received in business as an entrepreneur?
“That is a very loaded question! The best advice I’ve ever received in business, I would say, is probably that you don’t know everything and just keep learning. Even if we have a good understanding of how to do something, we’re always going to be learning. We’re always going to be doing our research and making ourselves better.”
What do you think is the most important quality that makes an SEO agency truly great?
“I would say it’s the ability to pivot. You can spend hours on a strategy and think you have a plan that works really well in the beginning. But, as we all know, Google can change algorithms overnight and completely flip-flop everything we thought we were doing. So, you have to make sure that you pivot when unexpected things happen and switch focus if necessary.”
Any predictions for the future of SEO?
“I think that Google My Business is just going to keep on being more and more important – you know, making sure there’s a very authentic feel to everything. I think the better user experience you have, the better your SEO will be. It’s going to become even less about keyword cramming and more about the actual experience.”
What is your reaction when you hear that “SEO is dying”?
“I think that’s false. For clients of ours, it’s one of the easiest ROIs to prove and a very real, tangible thing. It’s easy to show clients that, before, you had zero people searching for these sets of terms. Now you have 100 people coming for this term and another 100 for this, and you’ve gained this many leads because of that. I just don’t think it’s dying at all. It’s shifting, for sure, but it’s not as easy and simple as it once was. It’s always going to be around, though.”
What do you think is the most important contributor to keeping clients happy?
“Communication and openness. If something doesn’t go exactly the way you were hoping it would, just be very open and transparent and tell the client what your plans are for the future. Communication is number one. Obviously, results are huge, too, but you still need to be able to communicate those results.”
Interested in being considered as an SEOblog “Featured SEO Expert”? Reach out to our team at [email protected]! We’d love to hear from you and give you a high-traffic platform to share your SEO agency’s story and insights.