Jake Bohall is the Vice President of Marketing at Hive Digital, Inc. – an award winning search marketing agency dedicated to companies that are creating a better world. Jake attended the University of South Carolina before founding several startups ranging from the insurance to wine industries, and then found his home in the search marketing community. Jake’s entrepreneurship experience combined with over 10 years of working directly in search marketing, Jake is adept adept at identifying practical and effective business strategies and marketing solutions to fit a companies’ growth objectives and available resources.
Please introduce yourself and where you work.
I’m Jake Bohall, head of SEO at Hive Digital, a marketing agency dedicated to increasing visibility for companies that create a better world. I’ve been in the search marketing space for a little over 10 years, and also teach an SEO Bootcamp Course for ASPE-ROI.
How do you think SEO has changed over the last 10 years?
For the better… ha! The biggest change has been the underlying transition to algorithmically encouraging authenticity. Being authentic to users, being authentic to the communities, being authentic to Google, being authentic with your brand. Google has become this mechanism that pushes businesses and websites to evolve by peddling fear of ostracism from their search results and enforcing policies that require a website to be “better, faster, stronger” for its users. 10 years ago, you made a website work for search engines, and you ranked well… even if it was a wall of keyword stuffed text, or a standalone image with a chunk of commercial anchor text links pointing at it. Now, you make a website work for your users or you don’t stand much of any chance of pleasing the search Gods. We’ve gone from an environment where you do one SEO strategy awesome and you win to an environment where you have to coverall of the bases in order to succeed.
How did you get introduced to digital marketing, more specifically SEO?
I had a startup in the wine industry (similar to present day winc.com), and hired this agency to build the site and do the marketing. The startup failed, due to no fault of the search agency, and I needed a job. I realized I should learn how to program and do digital marketing so I could save costs on my next startup. Somehow I ended up being recruited by the agency my startup had previously hired. I had a great mentor in Russ Jones, currently Principal Search Scientist at Moz, for over 8 years, and I fell in love with the industry. The constant evolution of search paired with our focus on purpose driven clients keeps me from ever getting bored!
What are the services you provide to your clients?
Our agency provides analytics and KPI reporting for benchmarking and conversion optimization; paid advertising though search, display and social; Technical SEO, strategy, content and link development; social media strategy. We also have partners for website design/development, branding/messaging, email marketing, and PR. Our BHAG is to work alongside our clients in helping them plan, execute, and hire as needed for all of their digital strategies.
What strategy according to you will prevail in 2017 for SEO?
I just want to reiterate that SEO is not a single strategy game anymore. In general, I would say 2017 is the year of the technical. Site structure, crawlability, site speed, mobile responsiveness, internal linking, no thin content, no duplicate content (even duplicate social profiles, etc), no dead ends, etc… It’s time to do a solid spring cleaning of your digital presence, ensure a solid structural foundation for your site, consolidate your domains and content to focus on what you do best, and then connect with people that help highlight your awesomeness!
What would your advice be to people who are looking to take up digital marketing as a career choice?
Don’t try to do everything and build a network. Pick one area and become the expert. Just like any industry in history.. as technology advances the skills become more diverse and specialization is necessary. Pick PR outreach, site speed optimization, crawler issues, content structure, local SEO, restaurant SEO, hotel SEO, etc.. As a veteran in the industry, there are now many areas that are so different due to Google search features, competitive landscape, etc.. that I have to rely on a trusted group of advisers that I often turn to depending upon the industry or problems a client may be facing. Being a veteran allows me to know what direction/strategy to take, what I don’t know, and which specialized expert I need. It will take anyone new quite a while to be able to quickly diagnose and direct a problem, but if you start in a niche and become an expert, you’ll get there!