Do you remember what SEO was like years ago? What tools did specialists use and how did their workflow change? We continue our cycle of interviews with SEO specialists who have been building their businesses and withstanding changes in the SEO niche for many years.
Today we will acquaint you with Emiliano Elías, SEO Director & Co-Founder at ADBOT Digital Marketing Agency in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Emiliano lends his experience as an SEO specialist, shares some tips & tricks of how to do SEO, what to bring your attention to during the working process and how to meet all deadlines.
Allen MacCannell, WebCEO’s VP Sales & Partnerships, had the honor of conducting this interview.
Emiliano Elías and his team at ADBOT Digital Marketing Agency. All image rights belong to the owners.
Allen MacCannell: Thank you for making time to tell us about your SEO experience and give some advice to other SEOers who have just started their way in this niche. How long have you been working as an SEO agency?
Emiliano Elías: It’s a pleasure to participate in this interview. I’ve been working for 7 years as an agency, and as a whole I’ve been a part of the SEO niche for 18 years.
A: That’s impressive! Your experience is considerable. What is your global mission?
E: Be the best we can be when trying to help our clients understand and achieve their goals, while providing helpful information for their businesses (and I’m not talking only about SEO here).
A: Eighteen years is a decent period of time especially for such a field. The SEO niche has seen a lot of changes and is now much different than what it was even five years ago. Do you remember your first steps? Did you start with a few tools for different purposes or with an all-in-one SEO platform?
E: Yes! We once used Excel and macros to get information from a statistics tool that generated HTML reports from the log files from the server, and we had to parse the information in order to make our reports. There weren’t many tools back then, or at least we didn’t know them. So we had to do most of that manually. Then we started using WebCEO for some reports.
A: SEO specialists use specific software, a list of tools he or she has used over time. What other SEO tools are a must for you which you can recommend other SEO specialists?
E: Screaming Frog is a tool I use every day, and it is very good when you know how to use regex in it to get information. We also use Google Spreadsheets a lot. Google Data Studio is used for some reports.
A: Website optimization is not a matter of several minutes. The whole process embraces a lot of stages as well. Respectively it can eat up a lot of time. Which SEO tasks eat up most of your team’s time?
E: Strategy and planning. Then documentation.
A: Having so much work, did you ever miss deadlines? If you did, what advice can you give to SEO Agencies to avoid the pain of missed deadlines?
E: Yes, of course. Proceeding from my experience, I think taking good time to plan strategy, define goals, tasks and task assignees helps a lot to make a clear roadmap for the team and also for the client. Also I would advise anyone to talk to their clients regularly. Communication is key to finding out what might come in the near future that might need changes on your side (a restyling of the site, a new platform, migration, etc).
A: Are there some SEO hacks for gaining high rankings and driving traffic to a website that you can share?
E: We always say to our clients that they should not confuse their goals with the medium. The goal can’t be a ranking. The goal has to be something else, something more business related (a sale, subscription, signup, lead or even a visit). The medium we have to achieve that goal is via better rankings. So my main “hack” is to focus on keywords that show intent aligned to your goals. Generic keywords tend to have higher search volume but don’t provide enough intent. There needs to be a balance between the intent, the keyword (generic / specific) and the goal defined with the client.
A: Going deeper into SEO questions, can you give a professional tip on how often to do SEO & technical audits?
E: How often do you usually schedule reports? We have all our reports run twice a month to have a good sense of what is happening. It doesn’t make much sense to have reports run everyday (unless your wallet is infinite) because SERPs don’t change much that often. We have the reports set to run on the 7th and 21st of every month because everyone else runs on the 1st and 15th of every month and sometimes you get in a long queue before your reports start to run as scheduled.
A: As a digital marketing agency you would rather work on multiple projects simultaneously. Tell us about your most recent success.
E: The most recent success is a client that operates in Colombia. They offer cloud-based accounting software for SMBs. When they approached us, they told us that in 6 months there would be some changes regarding electronic invoices (they would become mandatory for SMBs), so they wanted to rank for those keywords as their tool provides the ability to generate those electronic invoices and there weren’t many competitors then. We started to work very closely with their marketing and development team and, within 4 months, they were ranking TOP 5 for most of the keywords, conversions went up, sales went up, and we are now expanding to other areas of interest with them.
A: No sphere offers quick and easy success. The SEO niche is especially far from this because we have a lot of circumstances to adjust to. What was the most remarkable challenge that your SEO Agency faced?
E: I think building a team of people that share the same philosophy, responsibility and ethics and even enhance those values for the rest of the team is one of the most remarkable challenges that we face. Today I can say we have a great team of professionals, but it was hard to get there. And there is always room for improvement in this aspect of course.
I think building a team of people that share the same philosophy, responsibility and ethics and even enhance those values for the rest of the team is one of the most remarkable challenges that we face.
A: Time flies; everything changes. What is your agency like now compared to how it was when you started?
E: When we started 7 years ago it was me and my partner. Now we are 10 people, we have different roles, we focus more on the larger SMB companies, we have a lot of partnerships with other big agencies where we provide SEO support for their clients… basically everything is different.
A: You are a long-term WebCEO customer. When was the first time you started using WebCEO? What SEO tasks have you solved with this platform?
E: I´ve been using WebCEO at least for the last 15 years. I do remember using the Desktop app in 2005 for an ecommerce site where I learned to do SEO. By that time, SEO was way different but the tool provided some information we needed back then and still need today!
A: Times were so different back then when WebCEO started on its way. It’s a pleasure to see that you are still with us after all this time. How does WebCEO help you with your work?
E: As an Agency we have our internal SEO team and several clients. The tool provides us with KPIs we need to track in order to see how well we are doing with our clients. We also use WebCEO as a guide and to do a project plan with checklists we need to accomplish when we start working with new clients. We even use the Lead Generation tool on our website!
A: Have you tried other SEO platforms? What was the decisive factor that made you choose WebCEO?
E: Yes, but none provided the information we needed. I’m not saying that they are bad. Actually none is perfect as every client might have different requirements. But we feel with WebCEO we could accomplish more and get more insights by combining their proprietary tools like rankings with third party tools like GSC and Google Analytics for example.
We feel with WebCEO we could accomplish more and get more insights by combining their proprietary tools like rankings with third party tools like GSC and Google Analytics.
A: There are 21 tools inside the platform. What are your top 3 most used WebCEO tools?
E: Definitely the Historical Data for keyword rankings is a good way to see evolution and detail. Clients love that too! Also we use the Site Health tools a lot, specially the Landing Pages SEO tool. And one I like a lot and plan to use more in the future is the Tasks Tool.
A: Which WebCEO tool really helped your agency grow?
E: Well, it’s not a tool but a feature. The white label option is great because it provides us with the possibility to “own” the reporting platform from our clients perspective. But if I have to choose a tool, I think the keyword rankings is the one that most people value more.
A: Working on your customers’ websites, you see the process from start to finish, monitoring any changes in real time. As a rule, customers themselves want to see the intermediate or end results, so I bet you send SEO reports to your customers. Could you please tell us more about that?
E: We do provide reports for our clients. Sometimes they just want to see an overview of the numbers; sometimes they want to go deep (for example, see a specific ranking for a specific keyword for a specific past date). Most of the time we try to get all the information we can get, digest it and provide our clients with some key metrics but with our insights that no tool can provide at least yet. We actually have bi-weekly calls with all of them and, in those meetings, we also ask them questions to see if there is anything we cannot see through the numbers that might impact or has already impacted the results. Some of our clients love to have 24/7 access to reports online, and others, not many of them, don’t really take much time to see a report either online from WebCEO or the ones we provide them. It’s a very mixed bag of options but we think we have most of them covered.
A: Agency level businesses have a lot of customers and don’t have much time to mess around. How exactly did WebCEO help your SEO team save time and costs?
E: Definitely by allowing us to organise our reporting in -almost- one place and to get to know the quick wins that sometimes one can miss but the tool can let us be aware of.
A: Can you share some figures? How exactly did WebCEO help you dramatically cut your costs? How did it help you grow your business?
E: I don’t have exact numbers but:
1) It helped us reduce the amount of time it takes to create a report for our clients because of two factors:
a) Consolidated reports personalized for each client helps us create a quick report with all the data our client needs with just a few clicks and
b) They can access the reports themselves 24/7 in order to get the information they want.
Also, I cannot tell you any figures on growth (honestly I don’t have any specific information on that related to WebCEO) but I can say that reporting and data visualization (using the white label option for WebCEO) made us earn some clients as they were looking for the most professional SEO services and other agencies only used spreadsheets or very basic tools for reporting. This is something I´ve heard from our clients when they chose us.
I can say that reporting and data visualization (using the white label option for WebCEO) made us earn some clients as they were looking for the most professional SEO services and other agencies only used spreadsheets or very basic tools for reporting.
A: Coming to the end of our interview, please tell us what do you find unique about WebCEO?
E: Ease of use, constant updates, the support team is AWESOME. I sent a suggestion like 5 months ago and it was implemented recently so they sent me a message through the platform’s internal chat as a follow up on my suggestion and the messages then guided me on how to use it. That is PHENOMENAL.
The ADBOT Digital Marketing Agency team says hello to you!