Charles Needham began experimenting with web design and development in 2003 at the age of 13, building a few websites as a hobbyist. After a couple of lucky moves, he received his first Adsense check for $100, and the rest is history. The focus quickly shifted from website development to manipulating web traffic. After developing a series of profitable websites, Charlie sold his portfolio in 2009 to pay for University where he could further hone his knowledge in marketing. Finishing his time at University in 2012, he immediately began furthering his experience by working with a startup web development and marketing company. Quickly reaching a glass ceiling within the first startup, he was allowed to join another startup web developing and marketing firm where he would have the chance to build customised SEO programs entirely from scratch. This firm was a niche marketing company called Autoshop Solutions, a place he still calls home after six years, where he was able to develop programming and strategies that allowed the company to go from 40 local SEO clients to over 400 local SEO clients, plus a variety of non-profits and eCommerce clients. From speaking on behalf of the company at industry events to overseeing major SEO strategies for both internal lead generation and
their clients, Charlie now manages a team of supportive SEO specialists and content developers to help bring powerful and cost-effective methods to assisting websites to rank online.
Please tell us about yourself, where you work and your role at your company.
Autoshop Solutions is a full-service digital marketing firm for the automotive & collision repair industries. We understand that your digital success relies not just on one marketing discipline, but the synergy of all of your digital marketing silo’s coming together to create something more powerful than what they can provide on their own. That’s why all of our digital marketing plans include the full spectrum of the essential concepts it takes to succeed organically in search engines, with paid ads, on social media, and all the places in-between.
How did you get introduced to digital marketing, more specifically SEO?
As a teenager I was really into “techy” things; from taking apart radio to trying to piece together some code to make a working website for whatever hobby, I was into at the time. I got incredibly lucky with one of these websites, and without any effort, it got high traffic and made me some ad revenue. To a teenager, an Adsense check is a very magical thing, equivalent to a Hogwarts acceptance letter. It was all wholly an accident, of course. None-the-less, after I got that first Adsense check, I realised that if I wanted a bigger check, I needed more visitors. The rest is history.
How do you think SEO has changed over the last 10 years? And, how do you think year 2019 will shape up for SEO industry?
The most significant change in SEO is the context in which we work. When “SEO” as a field was first cutting its teeth, experts would optimise specifically for search engines and their robot crawlers, namely Google. This created an echo chamber on the web where every major website started engaging in basically the same SEO marketing tactics. Starting around 2016 or so, this began to change radically. Instead of optimising directly for search engines, the focus is now optimising for the people who use those search engines. So now instead of optimising content for what we think “robots” were looking for, we are now optimising for what we think “robots” think humans are looking for. It’s funny to say that out loud, but the nuance is genuine and is what makes or breaks a successful campaign.
Where do I see SEO going from 2019 on and forward? All the signs seem to point to SEO becoming much more user-focused than ever. Google’s primary goal is to keep people coming back to their search engine, doing more searches, and converting as many of those clicks into ad clicks as possible. It’s easy to map out a framework in your mind for where SEO is going, and it will involve a lot of focus on the user-experience, answering and solving specific issues and problems, and maintaining stellar reputations.
What are the services you provide to your clients and what do you think makes your business stand out among your competitors?
It’s our philosophy that SEO isn’t a single button to be pressed or a single lever to be lifted, and instead is the culmination of every aspect of your internet (and real life) presence coming together to tell search engines how relevant you are. With that in mind, we offer a full suite of services: SEO management, website design, social media, content creation, PR management, video development, and more.
Everybody knows what you have achieved, I would like to talk about your failure stories and how they impacted your professional life. (As we know Rome was not built in a day)
When you have the philosophy that we do about marketing; which is to base all changes on improving real value for the business, the website, the user experience, combining that with reasonable expectations, it’s very rare to have a project not meet its goals. That said, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we’ve had our fair share of obstacles. No matter how perfect an SEO program is, sometimes Google doesn’t play by the rules that they themselves have established. For example, where local SEO is concerned, some businesses can be arbitrarily truncated from search engine results pages just because of where they happen to exist on the map, which is always a problematic issue, as Google ultimately controls that piece of the algorithm and there’s little we can do as specialists to manipulate that. That said, we have seen evidence to suggest that this can be improved locally with a concerted effort on improving your review score and quantities over both Google and Yelp.