My SEO Journey [Pro Edition]: Dennis Yu from blitzmetrics.com – SEO is the result of collecting strong User Generated Content
My SEO Journey [PRO Edition] is a series where professionals in the SEO Industry, Digital Marketing, or Web Design share their honest SEO Journey filled with failure, success, and most importantly, proven results. Episode #109 features Dennis Yu from BlitzMetrics.
I’m a former search engine engineer, so my role is probably totally opposite to what the other SEO folks are saying.
My job over 20 years ago was to protect the search results from SEOs and scammers. At Yahoo, we made money on ads served next to search results, so our engineers had to give users what they want TWICE on each query– organically and paid.
Thus, as the network, we are neither the supply side nor the demand side– but striking the balance between users and advertisers.
Fast forward to today, I’ve taken that network view to create two-sided marketplaces for marketing services– balancing between local service firms (paying for services) and the digital marketers (earning money).
My mission is to create a million jobs.
Fortunately, we are 25% of the way there because of our partnerships in the Philippines, Pakistan, India, and other countries.
We have spent millions of dollars to train up young adults (account managers and agency owners) and virtual assistants (specialists with tools and content) everywhere. And I’m happy to be working with Fiverr, GoDaddy, and other networks to bring communities together for jobs and training.
Table of Contents
- 1 What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
- 2 Since launch, what has worked to attract more organic traffic?
- 3 Have you learned anything particularly helpful in your SEO Journey?
- 4 What SEO tools do you use for your business?
- 5 Can you share your efforts related to Link-Building?
- 6 What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
- 7 What’s the next step in your SEO Journey?
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I’m an Asian math guy.
I would go compete in math contests for fun.
Marketplaces fascinated me, because the prices of object, labor, and attention were constantly changing. Even love is marketplace, where two people “negotiate” matches, not unlike a stock market or Craigslist transaction.
I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time when search engine game started in the late 1990’s. So I got to see the behavior of 300 million users doing searches, checking their mail, and buying things. Arguably, having greater data access than almost anyone on the planet let me see all forms of marketplaces — and the nitty gritty of traffic, monetization, marketing, and churn.
I did consulting while I was at Yahoo!, which led me accidentally to grow an agency. And I saw how inefficient agencies were– no analytics, total focus on selling clients instead of retaining them, lack of fulfillment and management, and so forth.
So I started systematizing and documenting processes that worked for other agencies, especially around analytics and ad optimization.
And now we’re lucky to have a share in many agencies and SaaS companies– to freely share our SOPs and training with everyone.
Since launch, what has worked to attract more organic traffic?
We apply the LIGHTHOUSE model, which is the exact opposite of what most people do, which is cold call, sponsor conferences, hire a bunch of sales people, and do outbound.
I was lucky to have the Golden State Warriors as a client, which led to Adidas, Nike, Red Bull, and other brands. They all wanted to work with the company that tuned the analytics at other firms they respected. So we never needed to “sell”, since we had only warm requests and referrals.
SEO, in my opinion, is less a special, functionally separate thing you do, but the RESULT of collecting strong UGC, processing that into repurposed content, and amplifying that across all channels. And coming from a data engineering standpoint has helped me stand out, since it’s hard to argue with the data, especially when we do audits.
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Have you learned anything particularly helpful in your SEO Journey?
I’ve found that public speaking has been instrumental in building the authority necessary to drive the types of relationships I want to have. And most SEO folks are horrible speakers, fortunately– even though I’m just an engineer.
I’ve been publishing blogs and videos of everything I know– something I wish I had started doing many years earlier. I could claim I was “too busy” at the time, but really it was just an excuse for not wanting to be judged by industry peers.
Also, I made the mistake of trying to be a know-it-all, instead of partnering with people who have expertise in particular industries and in tools I don’t know much about.
When you try to be an expert in many industries (even just SEO), you still water down your ability to build tight relationships in that one industry. For example, I’m well-connected in personal injury and wellness/medical, so I have greater perceived authority there.
What SEO tools do you use for your business?
I’m a big fan of using Google’s own tools– Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Ads (lots of buried analytics in there), Google Tag Manager (perhaps my favorite), Google Business Profile, and Google Search itself.
Of course, the SEO Analytics tools like Ahrefs and Semrush are great, but I find their data is often off or missing, since they are not the search engines.
My answer is simple.
I do my best to answer questions from industry colleagues– and they invite me to their podcast, conference, blog, social media, and webinars.
If I do a good job, they will link back to me and promote me from their lists. More industry experts watching my videos drives some level of passive link-building.
I also employ the “dollar a day” method to do remarketing and micro-target people in certain industries. This has worked very well for me in targeting the press, which leads to more press.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I don’t read SEO or marketing books.
Instead, I read science fiction and autobiographies.
On the former, I love Asimov, Cory Doctorow, and Neal Stephenson– as the science fiction authors are more science than fiction, giving me a view into what reality will look like in 20 years.
On the latter, I like Ray Dalio– “Principles”, especially, since it helps me see around blind spots, how to be a good leader, and how to make rational decisions.
What’s the next step in your SEO Journey?
I’m fascinated by AI tools like ChatGPT, Descript, GoTolstoy, Jasper, and so forth.
Of course, Google can detect AI content in many way. But my concern is not that, since EEAT is about weaving in actual experiences collected from customers, partners, and employees. Thus, strong UGC, reviews, and relationship building always wins.
My focus is to be with the most interesting people and share their knowledge– as opposed to find the latest hack or tool. I’ve used this successfully for 30 years, so I believe it will still work 30 years from now, too.