7 Figure SEO

Tom Critchlow (Freelance Strategy Consultant)


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With a decade of experience in digital media, leadership and growth, Tom Critchlow is a strategic advisor and consultant for leaders who are seeking to gain clarity about their strategy and develop new initiatives. He works with a handful of clients every year and typically works with clients for extended periods. Clients include The New York Times, Google, Dotdash, Gartner, Etsy and Seatgeek.

“The faster you can realize that producing content requires resources from Ops, Dev, Editorial, Marketing, Legal etc the more quickly you can realize that SEO is not cheap. Content is not cheap.”

“SEO is consultative. Whether you’re in-house or agency side –  you need to wrangle other team’s resources to get things done.”

“If you want to be seen as a strategic, valuable partner to your clients you have to resist the urge to be of immediate value. You have to reject problems and solutions and instead work towards building new capacities to tackle meaningful opportunities.”

“The mindset shift is subtle but powerful – and yet the SEO industry in particular has been drilled for years around problem-solving. The very language of the SEO industry reveals this fundamental misalignment: audits, technical issues, fixes and optimization.”

“SEO is an investment in a way that paid media is not.”

“If you want to become more senior and get access to the C-suite of an organization you’re going to need to look beyond the silos of SEO, product, content and marketing to look at the full accounting and incrementality of your work.”

“The more you spend on SEO strategy the more you need to spend on product, engineering and content. Everything has a resource ask or cost associated with it – whether it’s investing in the product, technology, content, analytics and more.”

“A good guiding principle gives you enough direction to understand how we’ll tackle the problem/opportunity, but without all the specification and details.”

“Creating a strategy is work. Valuable work. Regardless of whether you’re trying to convince the product, engineering, marketing or editorial teams to allocate resources to your projects – at the end of the day, if you’re not making a compelling case you’re going to get left behind.”

“The tricky thing about careers and jobs is that they define who we are. Our identity is wrapped up in the work we do and the language we use to describe it.”

“SEO increasingly becoming a skill, not a discipline – with companies choosing to hire “a PM who knows some SEO” or “a marketing manager who knows SEO” vs hiring a dedicated SEO role”

“If you want to get more buy-in, more resources and generally have an easier time getting things done then you should look for ways to make the SEO strategy agree with the company strategy.”

“Every SEO professional is a consultant. Whether in-house or agency-side, you need to develop ways of working cross-functionally, getting buy-in from adversarial stakeholders, and changing other team’s systems and processes.”

“Many SEOs are so stuck in diagnosing problems and technical maintenance that they forgot to actually do something.”

“The role of the SEO is to be a consultant dedicated to changing other team’s processes and resourcing.  This requires a delicate balance between the systems that exist today and the trust you have built up to change the systems themselves.”

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7 Figure SEO

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