My SEO Journey [Pro Edition]: Dhirendra Pandey from – Nothing beats the human element of SEO

Author: Dhirendra Pandey
Date Published:
Reading Time: 9 minutes. (2,382 words)

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 #150 features Dhirendra Pandey from Media Search Group.

Dhirendra Pandey from share his SEO journey

I am Dhirendra Pandey, founder and CEO of Media Search Group. It is a digital marketing company based in India. In the beginning, we started offering SEO services and slowly expanded our services as we gained more knowledge and expertise over time.

At this time, our services include search engine optimization (SEO), social media management, PPC advertising, web design and development, and link building.

Besides, our company also specializes in conversion rate optimization (CRO) and online reputation management (ORM).

Whether a company is a startup looking to gain traction online or an established brand aiming to stay ahead of the competition, we are equipped to help them achieve their goals. We started this business with the idea of making digital marketing affordable for all businesses, no matter their budget.

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I started Media Search Group back in 2011 along with two of my colleagues Amit Mishra and Satya Verma who shared my passion for digital marketing. We all came from robust digital marketing backgrounds at various agencies and decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship.

The idea for the digital marketing agency sparked when we saw small businesses in our network struggling to make sense of the rapidly evolving digital landscape. In my experience, 2011 was the year when several small changes brewed that eventually led to a greater impact on the digital marketing industry. Google+ made its entry, Facebook-based advertising was gaining attention, and Google Panda – a major search engine algorithm update – was also launched in 2011.

Since the launch of Google Panda, businesses and website owners started putting in more effort to rank well. Plus, the trend was also shifting from television to the online world. This was our cue that digital marketing is going to be a huge industry in the future.

While digital marketing presented huge opportunities to companies, it was often bewildering and expensive for them to figure out.

We realized there was a need for specialized guidance at affordable costs. Drawing from our diverse experiences, we were confident we could fill this gap. We noticed most marketing agencies focused solely on large enterprises. However, we wanted to make quality digital marketing accessible to ventures of all sizes.

Our “aha” moment came when we signed our first client, an e-commerce startup company. By developing targeted strategies that fit their budget, we were able to deliver great ROI and growth for them within a few months. The success of this early partnership validated our vision.

Since then, Media Search Group has grown into an agency with over 100 in-house experts. However, our dedication to guiding small businesses and startups in the digital space remains unchanged. We find innovative ways to provide our specialized marketing services on limited budgets. And we take a collaborative approach to understand each client’s unique needs and goals.

This personal commitment to making digital marketing work for businesses of all scales has been crucial to our success over the past decade. We’re excited to continue empowering more ventures to build their presence and unlock their online growth potential.

Since launch, what has worked to attract more organic traffic?

At Media Search Group, our goal is always to drive sustainable growth for our clients. Over the years, we’ve discovered some key strategies that consistently boost organic visibility and traffic when implemented properly:

  • Keyword Research and Search Behavior: We dig deep into our clients’ target audience search behavior to identify the terms and topics that offer the most opportunity. This informs an effective content strategy.
  •  On-page Optimization: We perform on-page SEO to improve the ranking potential of existing website content. This includes meta optimizations, header tags, image alt text, internal linking, etc. Quick wins come from optimizing what’s already there.
  • Create Targeted New Content: Our clients see traffic gains when we create new blog posts optimized specifically around long-tail keywords. We shape content to match search intent.
  • Earn High-Quality Backlinks – Securing authoritative external links remains crucial. We identify relevant sites and leverage guest posting, contributor content, interviews, etc. to get placed links.
  • Improve Technical Site Health – Fast page speeds, proper markup, website security certifications, and technical optimizations like image compression significantly boost organic reach.
  • Promote and Amplify Content – We get content in front of more eyes by promoting it across social media, and other channels. More exposure equals more traffic.
  • Measure and Refine – We track keyword rankings, traffic sources, conversions, and other data to see what’s working. Then we double down on the most effective strategies for each client.
  • Retain customers – We nurture clients with regular check-ins, share optimization updates monthly, and stay in touch with them.

The organic search landscape evolves constantly. But always keeping these core principles in mind when developing and executing strategies has proven to drive consistent growth.

The things that don’t really work are low-quality content, keyword stuffing, and buying links. Still, we find low-quality content and keyword stuffing far too common on most websites. Google is getting smarter every day, so manipulating it by stuffing keywords is not going to give you the results you want.

There’s more…

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Have you learned anything particularly helpful in your SEO Journey?

Some key lessons we’ve learned throughout the years we have been in this industry are:

Technical SEO has a big impact. Optimizing site speed, security, and schema markup help improve website performance. We underestimated these factors initially.

Keyword research is crucial. Identifying search intent and volume for the right keywords is key for targeting content. Our early content missed the mark at times.

Links remain important, but quality over quantity applies. Getting authoritative backlinks from trusted sites matters much more today than it did in earlier times.

Use A/B testing for everything if possible. We made assumptions that failed until we tested properly. Testing content formats, calls to action, landing pages, etc. significantly improved conversions.

Analytics insight is mandatory. We were initially flying a bit blind. Then, after a lot of research and brainstorming, we realized that we needed to create data-driven SEO strategies instead of just creating a strategy and then tracking its impact.

Relevant internal linking is a powerful SEO tactic as we experienced that can significantly boost a website’s ranking and organic traffic. By strategically linking to relevant internal pages, you signal to search engines the topical relationship between different sections of your website. This helps them understand your website’s overall content focus and expertise on a particular subject. 

Digging into bounce rates, retention metrics, and other data helps us to determine where to focus efforts. Balance automation with personalization. We use tech to scale campaigns but still customize them for individual clients. This human touch strengthens relationships.

Staying on top of constant changes in SEO and testing new strategies at the same time is challenging but rewarding. Continual learning and adaptation are key to staying ahead in digital marketing. We keep investing time and resources into sharpening our skills and approach.

What SEO tools do you use for your business?

If you asked me what superpower I’d choose, it would be easy – I’d want to see detailed data on anything at will! As a total data geek, having insights at my fingertips is like a dream come true in the SEO world today.

At the end of the day, digital marketing comes down to people connecting online. All the keyword volumes, backlinks, and ranking data matter only if we help our clients achieve their goals – whether that’s more sales, greater reach, or improved visibility.

When it comes to specifically sharing the tools that we use: Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Ahrefs, SEMrush, SEOptimer, Microsoft Clarity and ScreamingFrog are the ones that come first in my mind.

For keyword research and competitor analysis, Ahrefs and Semrush are indispensable. We use these tools to uncover buyer keywords and topics, research competitor strategies, and identify link-building opportunities. The data helps us develop targeted content strategies and link profiles for clients.

Google Analytics provides the foundation of our measurement and optimization efforts. We connect it to all client websites to track traffic sources, landing pages, bounce rates, conversions, and other metrics to understand performance and refine tactics. Google Search Console offers critical data specifically around performance in Google search. We analyze clicks, impressions, rankings, manual actions, and more to optimize content and address issues.

For technical SEO, we use Screaming Frog, an invaluable crawler that allows us to audit websites for indexation issues, broken links, page speed problems, accessibility errors, and more. It provides the site diagnostics needed to form an SEO optimization roadmap.

For me, link building is so much more than just a metric. Yes, links can help improve website authority and search rankings. But at its core, it’s about forging genuine connections.

When my team reaches out to publishers, it doesn’t see it as pestering people or spamming requests. Our specialists see it as starting a relationship. Our goal is to understand what they care about and how our clients can provide real value to their audiences through contributed content.

I never lose sight of the human element, because I know each person is unique. The writer interested in small business tips is very different from the editor looking for data-driven industry analysis. Taking the time to understand their needs, and pitch accordingly, is where the art comes in.

Over the years, I’ve found that link-building rarely goes as planned. But that’s what keeps it exciting! Maybe I get an idea from a spontaneous brainstorm. Or a conversation leads to an opportunity I never expected. Like any relationship, surprises and twists happen.

At the end of the day, I love this process because of the meaningful connections it allows me to make. When a contributed article from one of our clients goes live, bringing their knowledge to a whole new readership, it’s incredibly fulfilling.

Quality link-building has always relied on creativity, relationships, and adding value. That’s why it remains a gratifying human endeavor, even as search algorithms evolve. I’m excited to continue forging connections that share my clients’ stories far and wide.

Some of our proven link-building tactics include:

  • Outreach Strategy – We identify relevant sites to pitch quality content that provides value for their audience. Tailored outreach helps build relationships.
  • Digital PR – Press releases and other PR efforts help secure valuable backlinks from news sites and industry publications.
  • Skyscraper Techniques – We analyze competitors’ best content and create something even more comprehensive and insightful to earn backlinks.
  • Guest Blogging – We secure guest author spots on niche websites and blogs to publish optimized content with backlinks.
  • Competitors Backlink Analysis – Studying where competitors earn links helps identify new outreach and content opportunities.
  • Local Listing on Directory Platforms – Getting properly listed on key local business directories like Google My Business builds relevant local links.

Overall, our focus is on diversifying links from a variety of sources instead of building spammy links in mass. We vet sites carefully and customize outreach to ensure they provide value to publishers. This white hat approach has delivered great results for clients.

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What’s the next step in your SEO Journey?

At Media Search Group, we have come so far since those early days of figuring things out as a startup. But we still have so much ground to cover.

Though we’ve helped thousands of clients rank their business websites higher in search engines, improve brand awareness, boost website traffic, and increase overall revenue, we have barely scratched the surface of what’s possible in the digital marketing industry. The industry is continuously evolving with new trends, technologies, and user behavior, always leaving so much for marketing companies to explore and experiment with.

Now, we are diving deeper into emerging trends like voice search and AI automation as they are influencing user search behavior at a bigger level. I still remember how the increase in mobile search caught many businesses off guard who didn’t optimize their websites for mobile devices. I want to ensure that we optimize websites and content for the search experiences of not just today but also tomorrow.

We recently helped a client – a maternity photographer in Cedar Falls, Iowa City rank on Google’s top 5 positions. Her working area is quite niche and we got her business on the top within 4 to 5 months – such a cool feeling! She even published a detailed blog post on how we’ve helped her beat the competition and rank well. Feedback like that is the real motivation for us to serve our clients the best way we can.

We want to help our clients find different and efficient ways to precisely target their audiences no matter whether they use search engines, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn. And while I geek out over the technical side, nothing beats the human element of SEO.

Search engine optimization can help websites run but it is all about quality and personalization. As our company continues to grow, I want to make sure that we never lose the sight of people and stories behind success. Because the SEO journey is not just about ranking but also about driving real value for clients.  

Where can we go to learn more?

You can reach out to Media Search Group to learn more about digital marketing services that can take your brand further. 

To learn more about how we operate and what we offer, please check out our website:

You can also read case studies of how we’ve delivered results for companies across diverse industries.

See our company updates and insights by following us on:

You can also find a library of educational marketing content in our blog.

Have a specific question? Email us directly at [email protected] and our team will be happy to help. Or give us a call anytime at +91-7303690405 to get in touch with us. 

We love collaborating with ambitious brands and driving impact through innovative marketing.

about the author
Dhirendra Pandey

Co-Founder & CEO at Media Search Group

  • Follow me on LinkedIn
Working as an online marketer, my main role is focused on the strategic development of businesses & maintenance of their digital assets including website, social channels, blogs etc. My professional capacity has allowed me to develop a varied online marketing skill set, not only working with clients but with suppliers and partners to help build successful websites with strong SEO basics including technical elements, brand communication, and back link profiles built from scratch. I'm looking forward to shake hand with business honcho's and bring the revolution in the field of online business marketing and strategy development.

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