Hey, thanks for tuning in to another Partner Interview at EcomBalance. At EcomBalance, we’re all about creating win-win partnerships where we are able to grow with other companies in the eCommerce space.
In this exclusive interview, we interview Damon Burton from SEO National, he has been featured in publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, BuzzFeed and USA Weekly, and has helped high-profile clients make more in a month than they used to in a year. Not only does Burton bring an easy-to-follow approach to increasing your revenue and online visibility, he’s a trusted educator on the subject and has literally written the book on how to “Outrank” your competition. His new book Outrank serves as a guide to those who want to dominate Google’s search results without paying for ads.
We hope that you enjoy the interview and that it brings value to you as an eCommerce business owner.
Connor: Hey Damon, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. As a company, one of our goals is to highlight our partners so that our clients can benefit where it makes most sense. To get started, can you give us a high-level introduction to SEO National and a little bit about how the company got started?
Damon: For over 15 years, SEO National has stayed in their lane with a singular focus of specializing in search engine optimization.
The company was started in 2007 by Damon Burton, birthed after his success optimizing hobby sites and passion projects that outranked billion dollar media companies. From there, he knew he was on to something.
Connor: Thanks for sharing that! Can you dive a bit more into the products and services that you offer that help with search engine optimization? Our audience is always looking for reputable companies that they can lean on for specific parts of their eCommerce businesses.
Damon: Having optimized websites from billion dollar companies all the way down to mom and pops, you can simplify SEO National’s success to three core pillars.
1) What do you do ON your website?
2) What do you do EXTERNALLY to your website?
3) Content. Do you clearly communicate your value propositions?
Two out of those three and you’re getting a return on your investment. If you have three out of those three, that’s when you crush your competition.
Connor: Jumping off of that…when you’re thinking about your ideal customer, who is that? Where are they selling online? Where are they located in the world? How much sales do they typically have in a year? If there’s any other qualities, please include them as well. We’re all about making introductions where it benefits both parties.
Damon: The number one key to success with SEO is realistic expectations.
There’s a difference between progress and monetization. There is truth to the expectations that it can take a year or longer to monetize SEO, but not to see progress. Here’s the difference.
You can see progress really quickly with search engine optimization. Let’s say you’re starting on page 10 for your target keywords. You may be able to move that to page two or three within a few months, but so few people go past page one so that progress won’t translate into monetization.
Your expectations over the first months of SEO should be to establish a foundation, then see progress of moving up on Google. Over time as those positions tip on to page one, where you’ll start to see traffic, which converts to leads, which turns into sales.
Connor: For our audience to truly understand what makes you stand out from other companies in the SEO space, can you share a story of how SEO National truly helped one of its customers?
Damon: Transparency sets SEO National apart from other agencies. Not only will they tell you the advantages of SEO, but also the disadvantages. They’ll set expectations proactively and take the lead, doing all of the heavy lifting, but giving you the peace of mind of previewing and approving the strategy.
But the biggest differentiator is results. A team of over 50 team members, SEO National practices what they preach and has built a multi-seven figure agency without paying for paid ads, and growing organically. And, what other agency do you know that retains clients for over a decade because of the continued results they drive? A favorite example is them taking a small automotive e-commerce business that used to make only $80,000 annually to now making several million per year.
Connor: As you and your company think about the next year ahead, what does it look like? Are there any specific initiatives that you’re working on as a team to better your product or service for your customers?
Damon: SEO is attractive because it’s consistent enough that you know what you’re walking into day to day, but it’s also changing enough that it keeps it exciting.
SEO National has always been forward thinking, and that’s helped them avoid having any clients get a penalty. In fact, when algorithm updates hit, their clients usually go up, because they’re thinking ahead for what’s expected to work down the road instead of cutting corners and what’s working short-term.
Connor: How about this…everyone loves a company’s growth story. We all naturally go through ups and downs as a company. What was one of the biggest challenges that the company faced in its growing stages?
Damon: “One of the funnest yet toughest parts of growing this agency was about eight years ago, when we fully documented our processes. Back then, the team was smaller. We had processes, but half of them were in my head, in a spreadsheet, or on some file. We took the time to fully document absolutely everything. It took 2-to-3 hours every other day for a year, which was the sucky part. But now it’s the best thing, because we can fully launch an account with a 200+ point checklist to perfection, while maintaining quality control at scale.
It was exciting and rewarding the first time we finished that documentation, because it coincided with our first opportunity to bid on a $10,000+ per month contract from a single client. Had we not had documented processes, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable bidding on it. And if we did get it, I would have felt confident in fulfilling it. But having those processes documented made it easy. We put in the bid, we got the contract, and drove success for the client.”
-Damon Burton, President of SEO National
Connor: Thanks! Let’s talk some eCommerce! Where do you see the industry heading in the next 1-2 years? Any big changes that you’re predicting for the industry? How can eCommerce companies prepare for it?
Damon: There’s so much opportunity for you to increase sales with without paying for ads. So many people are focused on the quick sale and buy traffic. If ads are driving a return, great, keep doing that, but also layer it with organic.
Conductor analyzed traffic across a variety of websites and found that, on average, social media drove only 2% of traffic to most websites, paid ads drives only 6%, and organic traffic drives 64%.
If you’re making money with paid ads, keep going, but consider how much money you’re leaving on the table.
You may be in a competitive market, but you don’t have as much competition as you think from an organic perspective because so few people are committing to an optimized content strategy. So few people focus on optimized content, and that can be your secret weapon.
Connor: Changing gears a little bit…When it comes to bookkeeping and accounting, what do you think the biggest pain points for eCommerce business owners are? Feel free to speak from personal experience as well.
Damon: You can’t measure what you don’t track. Pay attention to every penny in cost of goods, pre-sale, post-sale, everything. The smaller the thing, the bigger the impact.
Connor: Okay, here’s an open mic opportunity. If there’s one thing that you’d want the EcomBalance community to hear from you, what would it be?
Damon: Let the results speak for themselves. Download Outrank, SEO National’s President’s best selling book on search engine optimization, for free at www.FreeSEObook.com.
Connor: As we close this out, I just have one more question. Where is the best place to find and follow you and the company online? Also, if you have one, is there any special offer that you’ll be offering to the community today?
Damon: Schedule a free SEO opportunity audit at seonational.com, or download a copy of SEO National’s processes for free in their best selling book, Outrank, at www.FreeSEObook.com.