Everything you need to know from the mouth of one of the UK’s Leading SEO Expert’s, Craig Campbell
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing leading UK SEO expert Craig Campbell while he was visiting the Midlands to watch the football, who is just as nice as his smiley logo suggests on his blog.
As well as being a truly genuine person, Craig’s story was incredibly inspiring to hear – and no doubt, you’ll find as much value in it as we did.
First I’ll take you through how he went from working a job he didn’t really care about, to managing his own digital marketing team and working in an industry as fast-paced and exciting as SEO.
Craig’s journey from van driver to SEO guru
Fifteen years ago, whilst Craig was working at a stationary company as a van driver, SEO was just being born. But it was one specific day that stuck with him – the day that he started his journey to becoming one of the UK’s leading SEO experts.
An SEO consultant had approached the company offering all sorts of promises to get their website to number one in Google, charging £50,000 for the privilege! The company refused, but the proposal had caught Craig’s attention. No surprise there. As the web was emerging and the developing online world was something he already had an interest in, Craig realised the potential SEO could have on the business. The more he researched, the more he felt confident he could execute an SEO strategy as well as any of these so-called SEO’s – if not better.
So, Craig just got cracking. He sought out some SEO courses online and spent time reading everything he could get his hands on to help develop his digital knowledge and skills. Then he got started by taking on a handful of local SEO clients. By using his newly acquired skills to improve their local search performance, he could experiment with his own SEO ideas, and use his clients as part of his own learning process. From there, Craig has never looked back.
Where is he at now?
Craig is undergoing a restructure of his SEO agency, whilst continuing to teach SEO. He’s also involved in joint ventures within music entertainment and electronic cigarette businesses. His goal is to work more independently and eventually to stop being an agency, and do more for himself. This is due to, what I will now directly quote from the man himself:
“People keep saying to me: you’re making me millions and millions of pounds – you could easily be doing this for yourself!”
Expanding out into other online businesses that are current and trending, such as e-cigarettes, has allowed Craig to apply his SEO knowledge to his business alongside his clients – and reap the rewards with them.
The restructure is mainly due to experiencing the downsides of working in an agency over the years, with a couple of the main reasons being: sales staff wanting to steal clients, and unrealistic client expectations.
He joked that all agencies nowadays consist of “glorified salespeople”, often outsourcing the work or doing very little at all – it’s these people and agencies that are giving SEO a bad name, making life that much more difficult for hard-working SEO companies such as Craig’s team and ourselves at Bright Design.
That’s why he is downsizing, and starting to offer his expertise as an SEO consultant, so that clients get a more personal service. That way he can cut out the middle man and allow clients to work closely with him as he plans and implements improvements on their website.
We asked Craig what advice he had for SEO’s just starting out
“Build up your reputation”
Over the years Craig has had hundreds of clients and managed to build up his name by offering bespoke website solutions to local clients that drive leads.
By offering a simple and affordable website solution with minimal resource, he could accelerate his growth and maximise his ROI.
“Research what not to do”
You’ll be hard pressed to find a mistake that someone else hasn’t already made. Do your research and learn from the mistakes made by your peers. You can always make mistakes the hard way – we’ve all done that, and Craig is no different. He explained that a lot of his early client sites didn’t use one of the standard Content Management Systems we’re used to, so he learnt a lot of technical SEO to make the changes needed, when going about things differently could have made life a lot easier.
Common mistakes that Craig sees SEO’s making all the time include:
- using black hat SEO techniques that damage the site, and trigger penalties
- plagiarising content or creating poor low quality content that devalues the site
- neglecting on-page SEO
“Stay aware of the trends”
Keep up-to-date with Search Engine algorithm updates by joining worthwhile blogs and listening to the big influencers in the SEO industry. Read, read, read. Whilst Craig and Bright Design only practise ethical SEO, a popular SEO forumwww.blackhatworld.com/has guys that are as insightful as anyone you’ll find. Since a lot of the members are constantly looking for ways to game the system, they know the algorithm very well, so you can learn a lot from their experiments. SEOChat, Search Engine Land, and Moz are some of the big SEO blogs you should use to keep up to date with the latest digital trends.
“Use the right tools”
From chatting to Craig and from personal experience, it’s increasingly clear that working efficiently is vital to quick and effective success. I can’t emphasise enough how much Craig stressed this. “Use the right tools and you can actively save a ridiculous amount of time, that can be better spent on other SEO techniques, or even other clients. Working as effectively as possible is a must in order for us to be competitive – and the best at what we do!
Some of the tools Craig recommended include:
So, Craig, where do we go from here?
“Keep your eyes peeled. And take everything you hear with a pinch of salt. Don’t believe all the hotshots who spout a lot of talk about earning millions of bucks – listen to those who are down in the nitty gritty of the hard graft. It’s those that can offer you real advice; hands on stuff that means something.
SEO is 90% about testing and figuring out what works and what doesn’t, so test things yourself and work with people who are doing the same. Build up your network. Get your name out there. Go to conferences. Optimise the way you work. Learn. And enjoy being in one of the most exciting industries in the world.”
It was an absolute pleasure meeting Craig and gleaning an insight into his working habits. Make sure you subscribe to our blog for more exciting ramblings from the team here at Bright Design.