Verblio Customer Spotlight: Using Verblio to Power Content Creation for Local SEO

An interview with Ryon Gross, founder and CEO of Local Leap, Verblio client since 2015

Local SEO is hard. It, like SEO as a whole, is always changing. Client budgets tend to be smaller with local SEO. You, as an SEO or small business, need to master esoteric tools like Google My Business, citations, myriad review platforms, and more. And to do well, you need content. The same rules that apply to content creation for SEO as a whole apply to local: create content that’s helpful, authentic, serves prospect needs & questions, and ties into a local business’s overall strategy.

Ryon Gross is the founder and CEO of Dallas-based agency Local Leap Marketing, which offers website design and local SEO services for clients in Texas. Ryon has been in business for over 16 years, so he’s seen an arc of incredible change in the digital landscape for local businesses. And he knows a thing or two about longevity as a digital agency.

In 2015, Local Leap became a client of Verblio, and they’ve been working with us ever since to create content to power local SEO for clients like Iron Door Plus & Texas Air Tech.

I sat down with Ryon to ask him about running a local SEO agency, content creation, and his experiences with Verblio. What follows is the content of that interview, edited slightly for clarity and length.


Paul Zalewski: You’ve been in business for 16 years. What’s your secret?

Ryon Gross: “Coming in, our customers’ main concern is putting trust into somebody—we only meet 50% of our customers face-to-face—they need to trust us, we need to be available, responsive, [and] provide a level of customer service most people can’t keep up with.

At the end of the day we’re building something that is something that’s going to represent their business. What we build needs to be available 24×7, and therefore so do we.”

The man himself, Ryon Gross of Local Leap Marketing.

 

PZ: What are some of the most important lessons for agency owners that you’ve learned over the years?

RG: As far as lessons I’ve learned, there’s an old saying I attribute to Mark Cuban: “Run your business every day like someone is trying to take it all away from you.” You need to be prepared to change and adapt. You need to surround yourself with the right people.

For us, internally, we’ve done a good job of finding like-minded people [internal employees] who want to grow, be challenged, and want what’s right for the customer. Having those values is really important to us. It’s a hard thing to find these people—we’ve searched high and low to try and find these people. The people we have now have those values, so it makes accomplishing the goals a lot easier.

You offer just two main services, website design and local SEO. Why?

What we’ve found is we get a lot of customers that come to us for the web design route, then they come around to the SEO route: they need a way to make the phone ring.

Customers then…come around to the SEO route: they need a way to make the phone ring.

We’ve got some smaller child services that branch out, but these are the core two. When a client approaches us, they want to go one of two directions—they need a website—someone to design and maintain it.

The other option is a website, plus someone who can make their phone ring. At some point, clients realize they need some way to make their phone ring. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is highly competitive. If you’re not in the local three-pack or in top three [rankings] organically, your phone isn’t going to ring.

What are the most difficult parts of running a local SEO and web design agency?

Content is the hardest thing to stay on top of. We’ve got a lot of clients, and we’re producing a lot of content—blog posts and on-page copywriting. Google wants to see fresh updates and that you know what you’re talking about with respect to the business you’re in.

For us, we found that we needed a team of copywriters who had a wide variety of experience in subject-matter expertise, as opposed to one person who tried to do it all.

Before Verblio, [laughs] I’m sure it’s like most people—you or someone you find sits down to try to write a few blogs. And then you quickly find it’s a tough thing to replicate, especially 52 weeks out of the year.

For us, we found that we needed a team of copywriters who had a wide variety of experience in subject-matter expertise, as opposed to one person who tried to do it all.

What content strategy do you recommend to your clients?

We’ve been consistent for a while that content creation is the way to go, the more content you have, the better off you’re going to be from an SEO perspective. That strategy hasn’t changed that much—great content is still the backbone of local SEO.

How did Verblio come into the picture for LocalLeap?

We were scouring the web looking for a solution to this problem of how can we create consistent content, using subject-matter experts across a wide variety of industries, at a reasonable cost? We ended up finding you guys through a Google search.

What parts of Verblio took some getting used to when you started outsourcing content to us?

One of the things we’ve experienced is when you know a client so well you know their services, their clients, [and] their audience, you really know how to structure content so it matches their needs.

Another early challenge we had was going back and making sure that the keywords we were using made sense to the writer writing the blog.

There are features Verblio is putting into place so our writers understand those needs, produces content that is on point, wastes less of my time [and] the writers’ time.

Conveying those needs, both content that has the right structure and expertise for the client, and how to include the right keywords, to writers on your platform so they can see the same thing we do—that took some getting used to.

You guys are adapting that more quickly than I would have thought about. There are features Verblio is putting into place so our writers understand those needs, produces content that is on point, wastes less of my time [and] the writers’ time.

It goes back to the keyword research aspect of SEO—we have our keywords we put into our reports [for our clients], so we also need to structure those keywords when we put them into [Verblio] requests, the writer understands exactly what we’re looking for, [that is,] we want to make sure it’s something that makes sense to the person.

How does Verblio help you run your agency better?

One of the things we’ve really enjoyed is the reliability from Verblio. The consistent postings [of content] is something we can really depend on and know the content is going to be ready to review when we log in. We have a [client] content schedule that we follow, so knowing that we can log in, review, post on our clients’ social—that’s what we really enjoy.

One of the things we’ve really enjoyed is the reliability from Verblio.

I’ve seen in some of the posts that no blog is going to be perfect—we approach it with that mindset—there’s always going to be things we’re going to want to tweak, but for the most part, we’re really happy with the content.

What’s next for you on the Verblio platform?

One of the things we just started testing is the ability for one of our clients to get auto-published content from Verblio [meaning Local Leap uses a Verblio account manager to optimize content in his client’s CMS and schedule it for publishing]—if this works out it will be a huge time-saver on our end.

There’s always something to do and blogs, for us, are filling up the majority of our time—just going in and tweaking—any time we can save is beneficial.

Looking Forward

We’re thrilled to be able to deliver great content & subject matter expertise with consistency, a reasonable cost, and less of a headache to Ryon and Local Leap. As an organization, we’re laser-focused on building solutions that allow agencies to make their clients’ or internal content creation easier, more powerful for their clients, and more profitable for the agency. One of our favorite things to do is stay in touch with long-term clients like Local Leap to figure out how to continually improve for them.

Paul Zalewski

Paul runs marketing at Verblio and is a self-proclaimed digital marketing and SEO nerd. When he's not helping sad, empty blogs find Verblio content, he enjoys writing and spending time with his wife and two daughters. His prerequisite I-live-in-Colorado activity is snowboarding.

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