Meet your SEO: Joel Klettke

Hello, and welcome to another episode of “Meet your SEO“. I had 7 interviews til now, and this amazing SEO is going to be number 8th. It’s not matter of numbers, it’s just matter of quality, and you can FEEL the quality, reading all the interviews.

I mean, everyone is saying: create great content and you’re done. Well, I didn’t even create it, because the amazing SEOs are the real protagonists here, and I am totally amazed by the success of the series so far. I have a lot of interviews to publish yet, and I’m waiting for some answers as well. I’m trying , many people are not even considering participate on this, but I don’t mind. I mean, I’m having fun and I know lot of you are, too. So, who is going to be next?

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m glad to introduce Joel Klettke. Joel is an SEO specialist at Vovia Marketing and I have to say he is one of the funniest SEO guys out there. He is Canadian, and many of you maybe don’t know , but he is the best looking man in the world. He writes amazing review on Yelp, he talks about stuff trying to change this fucked up world, and his tweets are extremely funny.

Let’s start, ok? Here is a photo of Joel surfing. I’ve been told he is able to do SEO and surfing at the same time. Amazing right? I know.

Let’s surf!

Joel Surfing

When did you enter the SEO world, and why ?

I entered by complete accident in 2009. I had graduated with a business degree in Entrepreneurship; I knew way more about the kind of place I wanted to work than what I actually wanted to do. I got the job opportunity with an “online marketing company” – I had no idea what I’d be doing. All I knew was that the company was tiny, the work was diverse and the chance to influence change was real. That, and they had beer on Fridays and I’d never need to cold-call someone.

I didn’t care about pay. At the time, $30,000 seemed like a ton of money. I just wanted to be in a small company where I could make a difference. After I got hired, I spent months reading and getting up to speed. They originally wanted me to be a PPC specialist, but when I showed more ability with SEO they let me run with it.

A great tip about onpage optimization?

Don’t write like an idiot. Most of the “SEO-friendly” copy out there is garbage and reads incredibly awkwardly. Ironically, despite the whole giant push for “great content”, hardly any SEO’s seem to be able to write it. If you can’t write, hire a copywriter.

Also – think concepts & relationships, not keywords. Most of your wins will come from the long tail, in my experience.

The most stupid thing people believe about onpage optimization?

That as long as your content is good enough to rank, you’re set. Too many SEO’s stop tinkering with content once rankings show up. Hey genius, how are your sales and conversions?

A great tip on how you build links?

Aye caramba. I’m not the best link builder in the world, but I’m getting much better. My favourite tip is taken from a Ted Ives blog post that blew my mind when I read it (http://www.coconutheadphones.com/an-un-hole-y-search-marketing-lesson-from-world-war-ii/). Stop thinking about who is linking to you and your competitors. Start thinking about who isn’t.

Embrace new markets. Do something creative. That’s how you win links nobody can rip off from a backlink check.

The most stupid thing you heard about linkbuilding?

I don’t know if this counts, but there’s so much fluffy bullshit out there about content marketing right now. Yes, content is a great way forward. I’m not arguing against that at all. But so much of the advice we see being spouted doesn’t work in the real world. It’s all well and good to recommend content marketing, but make sure you’re recommending content marketing that works for SME’s and REAL businesses in niches that aren’t extremely active online and don’t use social media like the SEO industry does.

Take off your tunnel-vision glasses. This is harder than you’re making it sound.

If you have to explain what you do at a 10 year-old kid , what are you gonna say?

I’d show them how my picture ranks #1 for ‘best looking man in the world’. Then I’d tell them – “I do that, but for businesses.”  Aside from 10 year olds, that also works with supermodels and other hot babes.

What do you drink when seoing?

Depends on the day. Right now, only water. I’m trying to get back into fighting shape. But sometimes, beer. I am Canadian after all.

What do you think about SEO community?

There’ s so much good – and so much bad. I’ve made so many good contacts and there are so many awesome, inspiring people out there who genuinely love what they do.

And then there’s this horrible “get famous”, plastic element to the industry. I feel like so many SEO’s are investing more time in trying to “get known” than they are in trying to “get better” at their jobs. On top of that you’ve got all kinds of “fluff evangelists” who preach all of these tactics that the average SEO can’t even action.

I guess the saddest thing is  that our industry can’t ever be honest. We’ll always need to posture ourselves the right way, always need to be secretive about what we’re doing and for who. Thanks to non-disclosure agreements, we can’t even celebrate big wins together. It’s a shame.

Make yourself a question and give an answer: Three fun facts about you?

1. I’ve been attacked by hawks three separate times.
2. I played in a band that toured. We sold albums in Japan. Highlight of my life.
3. Every month I pick a new challenge to accomplish that month. So far I’ve learned to drive standard, ride horses, scuba dive, lost 8 pounds, and a lot more. It helps me keep life interesting.

Who is your biggest SEO influence?

This is hard; I respect so many SEO’s for different reasons. I guess I’d have to say Wil Reynolds. His link building ideas and mentality of doing “shit real companies do” is as close to honesty as we’re going to get in the industry. He’s inspiring. If I could get a green card, I’d love to work for him because I think he could make me better at my job.

If you weren’t an SEO, what would you like to do?

Write. In fact, long term all I really want to do is write. I love words, I love creating something and then watching the traffic levels pour in after it gains traction. I spend so much of my free time writing; I’m making a serious push right now to pick up more paid gigs. One day, I want to have enough work to do that full time. SEO’s enjoyable, but writing is a passion; it’s what makes me feel most capable.

  • Spook SEO

    Hi Alessio,

    Again, this is another great and productive interview. I agree with Joel. Quality content will be the bread and butter of SEO nowadays. Also, conversions and sales are different aspects so it must have unique strategy. By the way, I also like Wil Reynolds for his inspiring views about SEO. I’m really glad I dropped by here. Thanks for sharing!

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  • Tobias

    Nice interview! Is it only me that are interested in hearing more about the hawks?

    • http://bestlookingmanintheworld.com Joel

      Tobias: I’d love to tell you more. I actually wrote about it in a book. Basically, I made the mistake of walking too close to a hawk’s nest. Then I tried to walk on the opposite side of the ravine, but the hawk remembered me and got vengeance. Then, a summer later, the hawk remembered me again and attacked me somewhere else.

  • http://michaelkovis.com Michael J. Kovis

    Joel is the real deal. Haven’t had too long to get to know him, but he is probably one of the most down to earth SEO’s I have met to date.

    Nice to learn a little more about you bro.

    P.S. Alessio, glad you spent some time on a longer intro again. Ha ha!

  • http://bestlookingmanintheworld.com Joel

    Cheers for taking the time, Alessio! It was a lot of fun to do this.

    • http://notjustseo.com Zeph Snapp

      Enjoyed what you said about embracing new markets…seems like too many people/companies pigeonhole themselves. Right now I have a client with a website completely in Spanish who up to now has refused to sell his product (which is made in Mexico) in Mexico!

  • Anthony Pensabene

    Nice write up on quite a character. Being a writer at hear myself, I respect Joel’s creativity and writing skills, and celebrate the realist questions he’ll often pose to the industry. Keep it up – I’ll be reading.