Highly Relevant co-founder and partner Alex Becker is a leading search engine optimization and digital marketing expert. Alex has over seven years’ experience in online reputation management, social media marketing and conversion rate optimization, and works closely with each client to assess their goals. With his extensive expertise, Alex is a sought-after speaker who has lectured at Perfect Business in Las Vegas and Social Media Week in Los Angeles. He has been featured in Entrepreneur magazine, the Los Angeles Business Journal, NBC and KTLA news as a renowned SEO and social media expert .
Highly Relevant was founded in June of 2009 and provides Internet marketing services that include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Online Reputation Management (ORM) and boasts clients that include Burger King, NAPA Auto Parts and Cash for Gold USA to name a few.
MO: What are some of the most prevalent issues you see your clients facing? How can these issues be corrected or avoided altogether?
Alex: There are a couple of common trends that we see when we talk to potential clients in the industry. First and foremost, a lot of businesses have been burned by “chop-shop” SEO companies that didn’t deliver results and/or provided them with false information.
In addition, a lot of companies previously hired SEO companies that were doing tactics that Google frowns upon. When they talk to us, they ask us to help them get out of Panda/Penguin penalties that were caused by their previous SEO companies. Their previous SEO companies often do link or content spamming that actually cause their clients to fall into even worse positions than they were in before they hired these SEO companies.
Everything that you do online and to your website now matters. SEO is a lot more difficult today than it was before, and more clicks are going towards PPC ads, so it’s even more challenging. At the end of the day, SEO is like a workout routine: no matter how healthy you eat and how often you work out, you aren’t going to lose 50 pounds in a day…it takes months and months of discipline and hard work to see results.
MO: What sets Highly Relevant apart from the competition?
Alex: We pride ourselves on being conversion marketers. It’s not just about driving traffic anymore; it’s about converting that traffic into sales, leads, phone calls, subscriptions, downloads, video views, tweets, shares, etc. — whatever the clients’ primary and secondary business goals are. My background is in product management and affiliate marketing, so we know how to convert and drive online traffic.
In addition, we have such a wealth of overall Internet and business experience that we tend to help people in a much deeper and more meaningful way than just “driving traffic” or “helping with conversions,” which seems to be winning over a lot of clients who choose us over other SEO companies.
MO: How do you stay ahead of the curve with SEO services?
Alex: We stay ahead of the curve because we have proprietary systems and processes that we constantly tweak and refine based upon Google/Bing updates and industry trends. We subscribe through RSS and Twitter to almost every major Search and Social industry news blog and forum online. We attend various tradeshows and networking events to ensure that we are always in front of the always evolving internet marketing landscape. Lastly, we have relationships with some of the biggest names in SEO and Internet marketing, so help is always a phone call/email away.
MO: What advice would you give a new company that needs a social marketing strategy?
Alex: First and foremost, updating your Facebook and Twitter is not a social marketing strategy. At the heart of every great social marketing strategy is a content strategy where you can funnel the users back to your blog. My advice to new companies is to build a great website that reflects how amazing your company is at whatever you do. Make sure that you have the fundamental SEO elements in place and that your website and blog contains the ability to share and comment easily. Write great blog posts that provide value to your industry/customer, and share that information with those who can put your great message in front of their massive following. After you write great content, share it on the social sites, and try to engage with people in the industry.
MO: As defined in your “Client Bill of Rights,” you state your commitment to providing “jaw-dropping” customer service. Can you provide some recent examples of “jaw-dropping” customer service experiences?
Alex: Jaw-dropping service is something that is very important to us and actually is one of the greatest strengths we provide above other SEO companies. We are all about being transparent, timely, and communicative with our clients no matter what the topic. “Jaw-dropping” service is getting our clients something on Wednesday when we said it would be done on Thursday. It also can be working with our clients who are having cash-flow issues. Jaw-dropping service is customizing our reporting, client communication or deliverables based upon what the client needs, not what we provide.
MO: What are some ways that online merchants can improve their conversion rates?
Alex: This is a tough question to give a blanket answer to. Conversion best practices can change so much from business model to business model and industry to industry. If you are an e-commerce website, you are trying to make people buy something – which is arguably the hardest conversion to generate online because people have to pull out the credit cards or login to PayPal and give you their money. Because of this, e-commerce websites generally convert at a much lower rate than lead generation or newsletter subscription models.
That being said, here are some definitely important items to keep in mind when it relates to conversion optimization no matter what your business model or industry is. Having great “hero-shots” that are warm and inviting and that push the user towards completing an action by looking at the form will definitely help. Having a great color scheme, call-to-action, offer to your website visitors, and site layout is also extremely important. Trust symbols, affiliation/association logos, great press, customer testimonials and a solid online reputation will all contribute towards increasing your conversion rate. The checkout page design and number of steps to checkout, as well as the number of fields needed to fill out a form also contribute dramatically to conversion rate.