Hi, I’m Jeff, a Digital

Marketer based in

South Florida…

I didn’t start out as an SEO specialist. I started out as a photographer way before the internet became a viable marketing tool. As a photographer, my first website was visually appealing and looked cool. It featured moving graphics, a gallery and some information about my photography and me. People who found me online, found me because they had my business card, or they saw my website address in the yellow pages or I gave them my website over the phone.

Basically my website was an online brochure.

( now my website is a magnet that brings in new business )

At that time, visitors to my website liked my pictures and called me based on the fact that I was in business. Then after several years, blogs started to become popular. The benefit of a blog is that you can add content easily, and without having to pay a website creator every time you want to add something new. So, we scrapped our old website and made a blog. As I photographed more and more jobs, I added additional content. As a result of all that incremental content, people started to find me online. In addition to adding content, I hired some SEO guy online who promised to get me on page one. I paid this guy every month – but what he actually did, I have no idea. Over time we got busier and busier and my website climbed to page one of Google. People started asking me, how did you get on page one? My response was, I wrote about my jobs and added some keywords and then I showed up on page one. The truth is, I really had no idea. Sure, adding more content helped and I posted interesting stuff, and cool pictures, but the reality was, other than that I had no idea.

Everything changed.

Over the course of the next year, my website rankings fell and my website presence disappeared. Soon it became apparent that everything changed. You couldn’t just post pictures and write content and expect Google, or any other search engine to embrace your website with a high ranking. Now search engines considered many additional factors before they gave a website a page one or any ranking at all. The growth of mobile devices became an important factor. Today half of all website searches take place on a mobile device. Search engines realize this, and have changed their search results based on whether or not your website is mobile friendly. My old website was not, and Google dropped me like a hot potato. Finally, I decided I needed a new website. So I had one made by a photographer turned website creator. This person not only made websites for photographers, the websites were designed to give photographers best search engine results. So I got a new website. It looked great and I started adding pictures and filling in the open text windows with the information my new photography SEO friendly website asked for. After spending countless hours writing content, filling in the blanks, which my new website asked for, and testing my search engine ranking by typing what I thought my clients would be searching for, I found nothing online. It was like my business didn’t exist online at all. As you could imagine, this was frustrating to say the least. I had made a new website, spent hours writing content, posting pictures, and reading all I could online about SEO, yet still my website couldn’t be found online. Ok – that’s not entirely true, my website would pop up every once in a while, or if I searched for something really specific such as pictures from Tom and Sally’s wedding in Miami at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on July 15th. This was no help, and by now I was receiving no business from my website.

Going back to school.

Finally, I came across a Digital Marketing Certificate program that was being offered by Florida Atlantic University. On a whim, I called and found myself talking to the head of the business department. She told me this was an intense program on SEO and Digital Marketing. It’s for industry people who do marketing for companies or business owners. She said – flat out, it’s the hottest offering in the business department. It was also expensive, and she told me this program only takes 20 students, 18 spots are already filled and 6 other students said they are taking this program, so maybe next semester. Since I was already logged in, and there was a sign up now button on the screen, I figured “let’s see what happens.” I pushed the button and it asked for a credit card. Honestly, I was not too sure about this. It was not cheap, and a big commitment, also I have not been a student in a college classroom for many years. Did I really want to do this? I entered my American Express number, and before I got off the phone with the department head, I was in.

First day of class.

On the first day of class it became apparent to everyone in the room that no one knew anything about Digital Marketing or SEO. What everyone knew was, “Random Acts of Marketing.” This means knowing some valid information, but not enough to have an action plan, or any real direction. There is a path to success in SEO and Digital Marketing. Instituting “Random Acts of Marketing” won’t get any website to rank high online. In addition, not knowing the path to success can get you penalized by Google and other search engines. Also, Google doesn’t send you an e-mail saying, you have been penalized. This information is only learned by using “tools” such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and other information and tracking tools. Once we started learning about keyword research, ranking authority and how it all worked together, it became apparent that this was going to be a long journey. In addition to becoming a long journey, it became apparent that it would also be an expensive journey as well. During the class our teacher would give us exercises using SEMRUSH, and Buzz Sumo among others. These programs were free during the class. When I asked, how much do these “tools” cost I learned how expensive they actually were. Then the other students, who almost all worked for large companies, said something to the effect of, “what does it matter?” Your company pays for it. “News Flash” – I’m the company! It didn’t take long to realize that doing SEO and Digital Marketing to this extent requires a full time commitment if you are going to be successful. In addition, I quickly learned if you are going to make the commitment to become excellent at Digital Marketing and SEO, you should be doing this for other people as well.

Strategy, design

and a bit of magic

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