Tommy McDonald, founder of SerpLogic, has been a full-time SEO professional for more than five years. McDonald launched a very successful service in 2012 that quickly went viral and netted seven figures within the first 18 months. The service, which was considered Black Hat by many in the SEO industry, really put McDonald on the SEO map.

Times change, business goals evolve and since then, McDonald has turned his focus to his current SEO venture, SerpLogic, a White Hat custom SEO agency and provider of highly-effective a la carte search marketing services.

This new venture has grown exclusively through content marketing and providing in-depth free advice on his blog. McDonald is a firm believer in providing as much free helpful content as possible, and it's a strategy he preaches to all business owners, regardless of which niche they are in.

I spoke with McDonald recently in great length about effective search marketing strategies. Here are his best tips from the interview for those interested in improving their business through SEO.

Q: Why should businesses opt for a custom SEO plan rather than subscribing to a pre-packages service?

McDonald: Every business has different needs when it comes to SEO. No two businesses are identical, which should logically suggest that no two SEO strategies should be the same. Unfortunately, not all business owners are SEO-educated and some assume that it's all the same. They become victims of these low quality SEO farms.

Even two businesses that sell similar items are always going to be different. They are in different geographical locations, they have different audiences and they have specific business goals their SEO plan needs to be developed around.

Custom SEO involves strategic content creation and distribution, outreach, link building and overall business promotion. SEO strategies that utilize the same approach month after month are simply not effective. They need to change and adapt along with the business.

Q: Why is content marketing so effective? You have used this strategy to really grow quickly. Do you attribute content marketing to your recent success?

McDonald: Content marketing works as long as you are providing value. I see so many businesses start a blog, post a few short posts with no value and immediately declare that content marketing doesn't work. It's all about providing value.

Look at the SEO industry, for example. There are new SEO companies springing up daily, all going after the same customers. You need to stand out, and I feel that has helped me get SerpLogic off the ground so quickly. If you look at my blog you will see value in every post. The content isn't promotional at all. A business owner can read the blog and leave with value every single time.

The goal is of course to attract customers, and the more value you provide, the more trust you build. Do you think a business owner is going to trust his or her hard earned money with an SEO agency that provides nothing of value and just wants his or her credit card number? Or are they going to favor an agency that has been giving them endless free tips and advice?

Conversions in the form of quote requests and orders come from those business owners that appreciate the added value. It's actually quite simple. Provide value, build trust and attract customers. Many people in the SEO industry throw out technical terms to attempt to confuse prospects and make SEO appear to be more complex than it really is.

Q: What are your thoughts on the current guest post craze and the desire for high authority links?

McDonald: I'll be the first one to say that guest posting is a great strategy, one of which can work very well, if done correctly. It requires a lot of work and relationship building, but it can be worthwhile in the long run.

What I see too often, is people going after the wrong guest posting opportunities. For example, most people desire links from authority websites like Huffington Post or Forbes, but they aren't always the best opportunities to go after. You need to think beyond just the link metrics. You need to ask these questions:

If you can't answer "Yes" to those three questions the guest post opportunity isn't worth pursuing. Links are still the most important ranking factor, but you can't ignore what website visitors can do for a business.

Think about it for a minute. Businesses spend money on building links in an attempt to rank high in the search results so they can attract visitors. A strategic guest post on the right websites can pull instant targeted traffic, and that's something a lot of people forget.

Published on: Jan 12, 2016
The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of