Kahena Interview X – Greg Shuey
There are hundreds and hundreds of SEO companies but there is only one SEO.com. Greg Shuey is the VP of Client Services at the Utah-based SEO.com. They are the ones behind #seochat and it’s our pleasure to be able to speak to Greg.
What’s the story behind being called SEO.com – how did that come to be?
Very long story. What it comes down to is that our owner, Mike Mann, was able to secure the domain name and merge the domain with an existing firm called WebTargeted back in 2007.
(For more on Mike Mann, here is a fascinating story)
What is the impact of it being called that?
Massive company growth over the last five years in both terms of customer acquisition and employee/talent recruitment.
Away from work, how do you like to relax?
Relaxing… Hmm… I’ve never heard of that before 🙂 I like to play with my two kids. We build a lot of forts and play a lot of Mario Kart.
You’ve already achieved a lot. What are your unfulfilled goals?
If and when I decide to leave SEO.com, I’d like to find myself in a VP of Marketing role for any of the awesome tech companies here in Utah. I’d also like to start writing for publications like Forbes.com and Inc.com, I’m specifically working on that this year.
Who are your favorite heroes in fiction and real life?
Batman is probably my favorite fiction hero because when you think about it, he is one of the only heroes who doesn’t have a super power (like Spiderman or Superman). He’s just an average guy who wants to protect his city and make it a better/safer place to live.
I’d say I have two real life heroes that have helped me get to where I am today, they are my Dad and my high school baseball coach, Ross Reed. They both taught me the value of focus and hard work.
What are your biggest indulgences?
I buy a ton of websites. Anytime I come up with a new idea, I usually jump on and snatch up the site, even if I never use it. I also eat a ton of Moostracks ice cream.
Where did the idea for the #seochat come from? Anything come out of them that surprised you?
Our President, Ash Buckles actually came up with the initial idea, but pulled in Dan Patterson (of CityPass.com) and myself to flesh it out and make it happen. We’ve pulled in a lot of big names in the search marketing industry, some we thought we would never attract in a million years.
What does a typical day of yours look like?
Wow… tough question. I’d say my typical day consists of a lot of analysis and strategy (high level SEO and business/departmental) and then coaching and training my team.
What’s it like being in Utah? Do you ever feel like you’re out of the NY/Seattle action?
Utah is great. I feel it is a very safe place to live and raise a family. I’ve been to Seattle quite a few times and love the coastal action, but Utah is where it’s at!
What has been your biggest mistake to date and what did you learn from it?
Six years ago, I sunk a ton of cash into a project that I am now paying dearly for (and will be for the next five years). I had taken the concept from infancy to fruition once before (on someone else’s dollar, of course) and figured I could easily do it again for myself without much market research or strategy. It had been a few years since I had initially launched it and the market/competitive landscape had changed drastically, I fell flat on my face and lost about 25k.
From this I learned to be far more research/competitive analysis driven before I invest in a new project. I also take far fewer risks today than I did six years ago 🙂
What things about SEO/SEM drive you crazy?
I’d say that the thing that drives me the most crazy is how quickly the industry changes. It’s a really good thing, but sometimes just drives me crazy.
What qualities do you look for when you hire?
I look for individuals who are passionate about life and have drive. SEO understanding and experience probably comes second in my book as it can be trained. I am looking for someone with fire in their belly and ready to get to work.
In what circumstances wouldn’t you work with a client or cease working with one?
We absolutely don’t work with any clients in the porn, pills, or casino industries. We also turn away clients that might make any of our employees the slightest bit uncomfortable while working on their campaigns.
We’ve stopped working with clients before if they are verbally abusive to our employees or refuse to implement our site optimization suggestions, although the latter is far less common.
SEO is a 24/7 industry. How do you find the balance?
It’s definitely hard and drives my wife insane. I work really hard to leave the office by five to head home and have dinner/spend a few hours with the family, then I’m back on my computer until 10-11pm working. I also try really hard to not even open my computer on Saturday or Sunday. I find that when I get that break, I’m much more invigorated Monday morning and typically get way more done.
What are the things you love the most about working in SEO? Anything you dislike?
I think the thing I love most is being able to grow businesses through online marketing strategies and be able to attribute that growth to specific initiatives.