Ryan Cote is Director of Digital Services at Ballantine, a family-owned 52 year old marketing agency. Ryan started to sink his teeth into digital in 2001 and, since then, has handled client campaigns stretching across all digital marketing strategies. He has a specialized focus in search engine optimization.
Please introduce yourself and where you work.
The company was founded in 1966 by my great uncle and my grandfather joined in 1968. My father and uncle now own the business…and my 2 brothers work at the company too!
How do you think SEO has changed over the last 10 years?
SEO now is a much more complicated and complex strategy because there are so many things that contribute to organic visibility: backlinks, load speed, good content, strong on-page, no technical issues, brand authority and more.
How did you get introduced to digital marketing, more specifically SEO?
Being I wasn’t in a position to spend money on traffic, I naturally started to read up more on SEO and learning how to do it. Being that SEO has changed so much over the years with Panda, Penguin and Google’s various algorithmic updates, I’m still learning!
What are the services you provide to your clients?
We still handle a ton of direct mail, but we’re also now heavily immersed in copywriting and graphic design as well as all things digital: SEO, PPC, social media, content and marketing automation.
What strategy according to you will prevail in 2017 for SEO?
Google’s algorithm seems to be rewarding websites that have strong click-through rates and engagement metrics such as time on site and pageviews. And that makes sense because Google’s mission is to rank the best websites, and the best sites typically attract visitors and keep them engaged.
What would your advice be to people who are looking to take up digital marketing as a career choice?
That said, my best piece of advice would be to have a general understanding of digital marketing overall so you’re educated and knowledgeable, but to specialize in 1 or 2 specific strategies. You want to be the go-to guy or girl for something. If you’re a true specialist, you’ll land clients easier and you’ll earn more. And don’t forget that these 1 or 2 strategies can change or evolve over time as digital changes and evolves.