AJ Ghergich: One of the Most Trusted Names in the SEO Universe
One of the earliest experts in the in SEO domain. Someone who specializes in combining the benefits of SEO, social media, and content marketing. And someone whose Twitter handle stands out to be @SEO. A serial entrepreneur, who has also been one of the leading experts in ecommerce, PPC, and infographics for over 15 years, AJ Ghergich has been one of the most recognized leaders in the inbound marketing industry.
When someone has a social media handle that says ‘SEO’, you know where they stand in the in industry. And there are very few other experts in the online marketing domain that have the experience, expertise, and exposure that Ghergich has accumulated over the years.
So when did he begin? What were his success-driving thoughts? And where does he stand today with his thoughts in the era of Google dominance?
Ghergich entered the SEO universe back in 2004 when it was in its early years of formation. With someone with an educational background in Fine Arts and graphic design, taking the first step into the world of online marketing may seem to be strange.
However, the elemental beginnings in graphic design do show in the way he has excelled in the creation and promotion of visual assets like infographics and blog posts featuring heavy illustration, skills that have actually helped him grow in this industry.
The SEO guru completed his education Bachelors in Fine Arts, Graphic Design from the Kansas State University in 2003, before stepping into the world of online marketing.
According to Ghergich, his choice to step into the world of SEO in its infant years has certainly benefited him in big ways. Today, he owns a boutique consulting agency, Ghergich & Co. and an ecommerce enterprise.
Both his ventures have been more successful than he could ever have imagined, most probably thanks to the way SEO, content marketing, and social media have grown over the years.
Ghergich is considered as an intelligent and savvy professional. He has proven himself to be fluent in all aspects of growing a successful business through online marketing.
He stands out for going the extra mile, not just for his clients but also for his employees. Those who work with him know him for always coming up with new and fresh ideas on projects.
Ghergich’s years of work in the SEO and content marketing domain culminated in the creation of Ghergich Co. in 2012. The SEO specialist also founded Authority Domains and in 2007 and Authority Shops, his e-commerce venture in 2012.
He is the CTO at DevicePharm, a thought leader, and a regular, featured speaker at many tech industry events, worldwide. He has also published on a wide range of industry topics.
AJ also stands out for his entrepreneurship modus operandi. He started his agency from scratch and with 100% self-funding.
He is a strong believer in self-funding and suggests everyone should follow this strategy.
The content-marketing guru began his venture with his savings. He started out of no office. Interestingly, he doesn’t have an office to this day. This helped keep the overheads low and keep moving up the ladder.
AJ held a day job at another agency before he launched his own. He had a couple of clients who were ready to sign up with him before he took his leap.
The Driving Force behind His Venture
As SEO, content marketing and social media evolved over the years, Ghergich saw a growing need for creating a common ground between all these areas of digital marketing. While content was a common ground between all these platforms, as one of the first proponents, he saw a very strong need to integrate all these domains.
Ghergich is one of the biggest believers in content in the industry. According to him, content is one of the most important factors for success in the future.
It is imperative to focus on powerful content as part of a long-term successful strategy.
So What Does his Venture Do?
Ghergich helps create powerful content that drives both higher rankings and customer attention. Ghergich & Co. is an SEO-driven content marketing agency that integrates expert writing with elegant design.
It helps earn customer attention by creating and promoting content through highly targeted influencer outreach. The agency consists of a team of world-class writers, SEO thought leaders, and graphic designers, all lead by AJ.
His passion for content creation and link building has been the driving force that has taken him through all the ups and downs in the SEO universe over the years.
His Working Style
Another reason for Ghergich’s success has been the amount of time he dedicates to each piece of content he creates. A breakdown of this sheds some light on how much effort and passion goes into his campaigns:
- Infographics: More than 10 hours of research and editing
- Design: Up to 40 hours of work
- Outreach: More than 15 hours of work
When it comes to the question of paid search marketing, AJ is of the opinion that it is not a long-term strategy for achieving top spot in organic search results.
Tips for Succeeding with SEO Campaigns
Choosing an SEO-driven content marketing agency has always been a challenge for businesses worldwide. But this SEO expert has some important tips to help business managers and decision makers succeed with their agency search and assessments.
- Always ask to see genuine results over and over for just one client
- Don’t fall for just any agency that can show one off results
- Make sure to check at least 10 pieces of content for each client before evaluating the success of an agency
When it comes to the question of social media and SEO, AJ believes that there can be no SEO without social in the modern context.
He recommends performing A/B test on titles on social media before using them for landing pages to boost organic CTR.
The SEO universe is vast and Ghergich has an endless list of recommendations to help everyone grow. Even some of the leading digital marketing experts recognize him for his ocean of knowledge in search engine optimization, content marketing, and social media.
- Infographics: Before you create an infographic, make sure to do the research and determine whether there is a market for it
- Link Building: Small businesses should create the highest quality content after in-depth research, not more than once a month. Focus all your energy on promoting it. He strongly recommends limiting the frequency to ensure that the quality of content is never compromised.
- Outreach: AJ strongly believes that outreach should be an integral part of all campaigns. He recommends finding writers who have recently covered the topic in question. Finding social influencers, curated blog lists, and running targeted social media ads focused on specific influencer groups.
- New SEO Secret: User experience (UX) is the current big thing in SEO today. And website engagement is an excellent way to measure it. The way visitors consume content is the new big secret to SEO success.
AJ is one of those figures in the SEO world who don’t believe in pointing fingers at others for strange or suspicious tactics.
He doesn’t believe that there is any secret to SEO. It’s all about keeping up-to-date with search engine algorithms.
It is hard to come by an SEO expert who quotes specific figures in their proposals to clients. Ghergich is one of those rare ‘specimens’.
While he many to mention the expected page and position, which is something of an enigma, he does state important figures. This includes:
- How many pieces of content will be produced and promoted per month
- How many links you should see
- How many shares will be received
- How much traffic will be generated per month
Social Media Marketing on a Tight Schedule
While Ghergich is known for the amount of time and effort he dedicates to marketing campaigns, he also has suggestions for entrepreneurs who are on a tight schedule, which is the case with most new business owners. Some of his suggestions include:
- Setting up marketing automation program to drive traffic
- Using Facebook and SumoMe retargeting ads
- Turning traffic into audience on email and social media
Such entrepreneurs should use Twitter API to monitor hashtags and keywords before exporting everyone that made a mention of the relevant topic.
AJ recommends running their bio URL through Moz social authority.
And when it comes to Twitter, this @SEO handle owner has the following recommendations for those seeking to boost their engagement on this powerful micro-blogging platform:
- Join as many Twitter chats as you can
- Post high-quality comments
- Follow and engage actively with everyone you come across in real life
- It is important to engage with influencers when they engage with their fans
Monitor influencer activities to get into their conversations.
Even when it is about social media, AJ is nothing less than a library of knowledge.
He doesn’t recommend reaching out with social ads to groups having millions of members. Rather, you should create custom Twitter ads and reach out to specific 500 people who have an influence on your niche. That is one of the simplest strategies to boost results while reducing costs.
Turning Challenges into Success
Finding issues, taking them as challenges, and overcoming them is an important strategy followed by this SEO expert in making the biggest difference.
One common issue found on most landing pages and blogs is that the content is not generally optimized.
Ghergich’s Twitter Story
@SEO is without doubt the most valuable Twitter handle anyone in the SEO industry can dream of having. And there is a simple and cool story behind AJ getting access to it.
AJ followed the simplest of formulas to get access to his unique Twitter handle – he asked for it from Twitter.
He was in the early ad beta and came across the handle and asked the micro-blogging site for it. This reminds of Steve Jobs’ simple words from the past – all you have to do sometimes is to ask for it. While Jobs did it by picking up the phone, this tech industry thought leader did it on social media.
Ghergich has over 91,000 followers on Twitter, and he humbly claims that it may not be a big number but all of them are organic.
An SEO Guru that Hates Mornings
While most of the world follows the adage that the early bird catches the worm, those who wake late are often considered to be natural geniuses.
AJ hates waking up early and following the morning routines. He gets up at 9 and works until 6 in the evening before spending time with family and working up to midnight.
He is again a unique entrepreneur in that he doesn’t work on weekends.
His Latest Project
Ghergich, while serving his clients and coming up with new findings in the SEO and social media domain, also likes to take up new challenging projects of his own.
He is currently working on Kinship, a unique app that mines tweets to create the ideal outreach list for targeted topics.
The app finds blogs against the names in the list and generates tons of related data. His team is benefiting in a big way from this new app, especially in improving their efficiency.
Is it All about Content
Content is at the heart of AJ’s pursuit of success with SEO and social media. It is, however, strange that the adage ‘content is king’ isn’t on the top of his big list.
He is a strong believer in outreach and audience development. At the same time he emphasizes that all that cannot be achieved without high-quality content.
There are many entrepreneurs in the SEO domain, but very few early beginners like Ghergich exist today. And there is only one who has a social media handle that says @SEO.
So who do you go to when you need insights into the world of SEO – it surely is AJ Ghergich!