Dave Rohrer is the founder of the Chicago-based digital agency NorthSide Metrics, where he helps various businesses improve their digital marketing to drive more quality traffic, leads, and sales. He is also a co-host of The Business of Digital Podcast, where he together with Mat Siltala discuss such topics as Paid Social, SEO, Content Marketing, CRO, PPC, Email Marketing and many others.
Dave has spent more than 10 years as a web developer, SEO manager, and online marketing manager, and more than 5 years at agencies where he worked directly with Internet Retailer 100 and Fortune 500 clients. He says about himself, “I am a proven online marketer that is able to see how all of the pieces work together to achieve success for a business. While I have a technical background, I prefer to utilize metrics, KPIs and data to drive winning client strategies.”
Dave’s session at MDMC18 titled “How to Win At and With SEO” will focus on the current changes taking place in SEO, namely, Mobile First, Local SEO and the growing number of ads. Dave will dig into how to win at SEO in 2018, which KPIs matter to SEO and other teams, and how to make them all work together.
Here are Dave’s answers from the pre-conference Q&A session.
Q.1. What are some big mistakes a business could make when it comes to digital marketing?
D.R.: Not having a plan. This goes from not having an overall marketing plan to not having a fully thought out plan on how to implement some new project or campaign. Digital allows you to move fast (content pushed to a blog in hours, social posts out in minutes, paid search campaign same day), so often there is no plan on what to do AFTER or even how to properly do it.
Q.2. What is your favorite marketing book you have read lately? Or, what are a few of your favorite marketing blogs?
D.R.: Twitter for daily reading and marketing updates. The Power of Habit book from earlier this year and the most recent book I have been reading that I like is UnBranding.
i. Twitter – yes, I still use and like Twitter (mostly). For a quick way to dig into not one website but a large number I still prefer it over any other source.
ii. UnBranding: 100 Branding Lessons for the Age of Disruption by Alison Stratten & Scott Stratten – it is 100 chapters and quick case studies in branding.
iii. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg – a great read into why people do what they do and how to make/break habits.
Q.3. According to you, what are the top three mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging digital marketing?
D.R.: The common mistakes will likely change a bit depending on where you are in a company, but I think these three are likely ones that almost any team will come across.
i. Team Silos – From Marketing to IT to CS to Sales – teams working together more and across more projects should be more common than not, but sadly it is so often the other way.
ii. Lack of QA – Whether you are rolling out a full product or the MVP version you still need to QA. If you are launching a new website or a new AdWords campaign you still need to check URLs and make sure that the robots.txt doesn’t tell Google/Bing to not index the site.
iii. Lack of Planning – SEO is often brought in very late to a project and often is brought in after the launch. I also often see IT, Social, or any other group not given proper heads up around deadlines and deliverables so that 36 hours before a campaign or project goes live those teams are emailed with a “WE NEED YOU TO DROP EVERYTHING AND DO THIS NOW” type email, Slack, Skype, text message and call.
Q.4.: Which are your three favorite digital marketing tools?
D.R.: In the realm of SEO there are 100s of tools with new paid and free tools coming out all the time. If I was hard pressed to only choose a handful these are three that I would highly consider worth it.
i. Sales Team/Customer Service – from a content ideation standpoint and understanding the problems your clients/prospects are facing these two groups have a ton of insight. What the marketing team or industry calls something is often now how a prospect thinks. So, when it comes to talking to them or hearing the WHY they are considering your product or service you can gather great insights into how to mold your marketing copy or perhaps an idea on a great blog post.
ii. Crawlers – There is a number out there – Screaming Frog, Sitebulb, Deepcrawl, Xenu, Page Modified, and others that vary in price from free to very expensive. What these tools do is crawl your site much like a search engine does. The insights into things you can do to help your SEO are often huge.
iii. Google Analytics (GA) or Google Search Console (GSC) – I personally use both on almost every project I work on and the data there while taken with a grain of salt is really one of the best tools to help with SEO (or any digital marketing project).
Q.5. If you were looking to hire a digital marketer, what are the top 3-5 skills you would be looking for in a candidate?
D.R.: For me, this may change a bit depending on the position or their experience but at the core, these are things I look at:
i. Drive and curiosity – no matter which specific area you go there is constant change. You must keep up.
ii. Data & Excel – From reporting to understanding trends in PPC/SEO the ability to dig into data is a big one for me.
iii. Writing or Coding – either one (or both) are often required to have a job in digital. And you don’t have to write a book or an application/website from scratch, but you do need to understand beyond the basics.
iv. Problem solver – often there is no right or wrong solution but simply a goal. Being able to use available tools and resources to solve a problem will win almost any boss over.
Q.6. What’s the industry buzzword that annoys you the most these days and why?
Synergy or Synergize – take your pick I simply don’t like any version of the phrase (and never have). I don’t hear it daily anymore, but when I do I cringe.